Mixed-Use for the Mixed-Up

What exactly is defined by mixed-use is often somewhat up to debate. Howard Blackson of Better Cities & Towns helps us clarify what the term "mixed-use" should really mean.

As Howard Blackson of Better Cities & Towns writes, "[t]oday, the most common misunderstanding I find about mixed-use is that most people think it equates, on any street or in any context, to a shopfront with housing above." But that's not the true meaning, explains Blackson:

"Mixed-use makes for three-dimensional, pedestrian-oriented places that layer compatible land uses, public amenities, and utilities together at various scales and intensities. This variety of uses allows for people to live, work, play and shop in one place, which then becomes a destination for people from other neighborhoods."

With that definition in mind, Blackson continues by breaking mixed-use into the three categories of "A) vertical mixed-use buildings; B) horizontal mixed-use buildings; or C) mixed-use walkable neighborhoods." By cementing and expanding our definition of mixed-use, we can hope to the, as Blackson puts it, this "mixing of uses" that will act as "a catalyst to building complete, complex, and convivial neighborhoods," allowing for "mixed-used Main Streets, Town Centers, neighborhood centers and every days neighborhoods, all by-right."

Full Story: Don't get mixed-up on mixed-use

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