What is mixed use development?

Commercial Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Alliance Realty

What is Mixed Use Development?

Many local governments land use codes do not specifically address a definition of "mixed use development". Below you will find definitions for mixed use development and a mixed use structure published by the American Planning Association.

A mixed use development is defined by the American Planning Association as:

The development of a tract of land or occupancy of a building or structure with two or more different uses such as, but not limited to, residential, office, retail, public or medical uses in a compact form.

  • A project that integrates variety of land uses including residential, office, commercial, service, and employment and can result in measurable reductions in traffic impacts.
  • A proposed development that includes primary non residential and primary residential uses on the same property.


A mixed use structure is defined by the American Planning Association as:

A building containing residential uses in addition to non residential uses permitted  in a zoning district  

  • A building that contains dwellings located above the ground floor of an institutional, civic, cultural, office, medical, commercial or retail use. Mixed use buildings are a common feature of town or community centers where commercial or retail shop owners or employees live above the ground-floor business and are sometimes referred to as "live-work units," Where a mixed use dwelling is permitted by ordinance within a particular zoning district, the ground-floor retail uses are also permitted.
  • A building or group of buildings, under one ownership, designed to encourage a diversity of compatible land uses, including both market-rate and below market-rate housing units and commercial or non-commercial uses. Developed at an appropriate intensity consistent with the community, neighborhood and site environment.
  • A single building containing more than one type of land use or a single development of more than one building use, where the different types of uses are in close proximity, planned as a unified and complementary whole, and functionally integrated with shared vehicular, parking, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.



Comments (3)

Charlottesville, VA
Mixed use is starting to show up in some areas near us. Single Famly, Town homes, low income housing and of course shopping. It's a good concept, we are watching to see how it all works out. 
Aug 20, 2007 12:48 AM
Mott Marvin Kornicki
Waterway Realty, Ltd. Co. | 305.935.3533 - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Here in South Florida, Mixed Use has been around for awhile. It makes good sense too! Why just have residential or just commercial? Some locations are perfect for ground floor business, second level offices and upper level residential. Now, even entertainment venues are being added to the mix; movie theatres and concert hall on site too. As long as they don't throw in a hazardous manufacturing plant into the mix- it's all good!
Aug 20, 2007 01:02 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Gary, those are some useful definitions.  I'm familiar with mixed use, but this gives some more exact detail.
Aug 20, 2007 11:47 AM