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Term Benefits Of Mixed Use Development

Since the 1980’s, people have been leaving the suburbs and moving back to the city, and developers have been busy answering demands for more efficient housing – and to do this, they’ve begun to revive and reinvent an old idea.

Diversified Neighborhoods

Mixed use development means more to communities than extra coffee shops and boutiques. It means economic growth and diverse living options. Back in the 90’s, Chicago’s government began offering incentives to condo builders to provide low-income housing in every structure built. This has been largely viewed as a huge success. Other cities followed Chicago’s lead: Louisville, Dallas, Los Angeles, and a plethora of other cities have reported successes implementing the scheme as well.

Economic Growth

Not only do construction and labor costs play a role in the economic boom of mixed use development, but growing businesses have benefited as well. For most structures, the bottom floor is zoned for businesses, whereas the upper floors are used to house residents. Essentially, a customer base is already in place, which makes these developments extremely attractive to small business owners trying to get off the ground. As these businesses grow, so does the money. And because of the nature of these companies, the money stays right there in the neighborhood and cycles through the local economy.

Bringing People and Business Together

Mixed use development is unlike a standard apartment complex, where people live as strangers and usually don’t get to know each other. For one thing, apartment complexes do not have coffee shops and grocery stores conveniently placed on lower floors. In fact, a resident’s trip to a distant grocery store could actually cost the community, as the money spent is then concentrated in another city, and the community sees little benefit from it. In a mixed use setting, people shop right in their neighborhoods, meaning that the money stays within the community. This means tax revenue for the city, and the way taxes trickle down is largely determined by community representation in the city council or some other governing body. A sense of communal relations develops, resulting in an “us” attitude as opposed to the old “me” attitude. This is the kind of attitude that bonds neighborhoods together.

Mixed use development is good for businesses, the community, the residents, and the investors. Not since the 1920’s has such an interest in these developments been realized in cities across the United States. Community members are responding with enthusiasm to these developments, and experts believe that by 2018, a majority of inner city residents will live in or near structures that house both businesses and people.