Wikipedia’s Definition of Mixed-Use Development is a type of urban development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or entertainment uses, where those functions are physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections. Mixed-use development can take the form of a single building, a city block, or entire neighborhoods. The term may also be used more specifically to refer to a mixed-use real estate development project—a building, complex of buildings, or district of a town or city that is developed for mixed-use by a private developer, (quasi-) governmental agency, or a combination thereof.
Everywhere I go in Delaware I see cranes and construction of mixed-use development projects. They started in the urban areas and are migrating out to the suburbs. Planners and architects seem to be rethinking how they redesign apartment complexes, parking garages, land opportunities from old industrial sites that were brownfields such as the Wilmington Riverfront, The Claymont Steel plant and the GM plant, and even converting office and industrial buildings into the mix.
Mixed-use development projects are evolving due to the changes that took place during the long recession, technological advancement and a need to provide a balance of “live, work, play” amenities catering to an increasing desire of people wanting to live and shop close to work. In addition, with the scarcity of land driving up real estate costs, transforming properties zoned office neighborhood (ON) commercial regional (CR) and commercial neighborhood (CN) to mixed-use creates more density, adding value for landowners and developers according to local engineers.