Philip E. Goforth of Missouri is a construction and real estate development professional. In the following article, Philip Goforth sheds light on the intricacies and benefits of mixed-use developments that strike the perfect balance between economic vitality and communal well-being.
As the global population increases and humans continuously seek out a sense of community and a reduced carbon footprint, mixed-use developments are quickly increasing in popularity. These developments balance commerce and community by merging residences and businesses into one complex. Below is an exploration of the benefits and challenges of mixed-use developments and how they are reshaping urban landscapes.
Philip E. Goforth Promotes a Sense of Community with Development
Residents looking for a strong sense of community need look no further than mixed-use developments. Such districts can have an enormous positive impact on community health, thanks to increased social cohesion and interaction among residents and business owners living and working within the same space. This can prove to be especially valuable in otherwise small or rural communities where citizens are more isolated.
Philip E. Goforth of Missouri says that the architecture of mixed-use developments can also instill a uniquely strong sense of place. Often, these buildings are designed with a cohesive look and feel so that the community can instantly and instinctively get a “sense” of when they have entered the neighborhood.
Building an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Mixed-use developments are generally an eco-friendly choice that can make even the most congested urban areas far more sustainable. Having commercial properties readily available within or near a residential area encourages walkability, or at least alternate forms of transportation like bikes, scooters, and public transportation rather than gas-guzzling buses and cars. The Arizona Department of Transportation shared a study that showed how mixed-use developments can decrease vehicle miles traveled by as much as 20-45%.
Philip E. Goforth of Missouri explains that a complex supporting active living through walking and fresh air will generally lead to a happier, healthier population. Additionally, money that was previously invested in cars, car insurance, and gas can be re-invested elsewhere in the community.
Convenient Shopping Boosts the Local Economy
With retail, restaurant, entertainment, and leisure options all available within the residential community, locals will no longer feel the need to travel to other cities to spend their money. Instead, they will be more likely to invest in the most convenient options that are right at home, which in turn boosts the local economy and attracts more businesses (and residents) to the town.
Philip E. Goforth of Missouri explains that cultivating such a built-in audience can also provide increased economic opportunity to small or niche businesses that might otherwise struggle to find their consumers, leading to a more interesting, diverse, and independently run set of local establishments.
Equity Considerations – Making Mixed-Use Affordable
Thanks to increased economic opportunity for businesses and less reliance on vehicles for transportation, living and working in a mixed-use development can be more accessible to lower income individuals. Both private and publicly managed developments can also adjust their requirements to include affordable access to housing.
That said, Philip E. Goforth of Missouri notes that, in the current economy in which housing and rent prices are generally high, rental prices may generally increase in land designated as mixed-use, due in part to high demand for shorter (or non-existent) commutes, preference for community living among the younger and more affluent, and high demand for eco-friendly options among the wealthy.
Impact on Traffic and Infrastructure
While these developments can, in theory, have a positive impact on a city’s traffic by generally decreasing the need for vehicular transportation, there can be a negative impact as well. Depending on the location and design, these developments may cause more traffic issues than what was previously occupying the land due to increased entrances and exits, more residents living in one area, and a general disruption to the previous flow of the roads.
Philip E. Goforth of Missouri says that, in terms of infrastructure, the buildings are sometimes developed with lower standards of design, construction, and maintenance due to the high market demand, need for speedy construction, and regulatory requirements.
Balancing the Needs of the Community
Whenever a large group of people live together, challenges can arise, and mixed-use developments are no exception. While these complexes do naturally promote a communal spirit, some residents may desire more privacy and quiet than others, leading to potential conflicts of interest. Philip E. Goforth of Missouri notes that in other cases, residents may disagree about which type of businesses are preferred within the complex, potentially leading to negative feelings or resentment.
Mixed-use developments promote a sense of community, establish a sense of place, reduce an area’s carbon footprint, and encourage economic opportunity. However, challenges surrounding equity, traffic, infrastructure, and community balance can also arise.