mixed land uses

Mix Land Uses

Land use designations should allow for a mix of zoning types (e.g. residential, retail, office, light industrial) in specific areas.  Design for attractive, vibrant places that draw people in and are comfortable and enjoyable enough for them to stay.  Scale the mix of zoning to the area both now and as it will grow in the future. Enable residents to meet their needs without using a car, either due to the proximity of uses or the ease of other.

Best Practice Actions

  1. Adopt zoning codes to allow, encourage or require the type of development envisioned in the adopted vision and plan (e.g. include minimum densities, consider form based zoning codes and subarea plans to provide more detail).
  2. Address urban design issues through use of design standards.
  3. Encourage green building standards should be encouraged and integrated into design standards as much as possible.
  4. Pay attention to design standard details: for example, include sustainability and crime prevention through environmental design strategies. Implementation may include the development of: gathering places such as small public parks, farmers markets, plazas, sites for public art, distinct character in different parts of city or from neighboring cities, parking management (# of stalls, internal and external costs), lighting, and signage.
  5. Address operational design standards, e.g. freight deliveries, garbage storage and pick up, recycling, light and glare, noise, parking lot sweeping to reduce impacts.
  6. Use streamlined planning actions (e.g., permitting) to get the type of development you want where you want it.

Benefits of Mix Land Uses

  • Provide a base for transit oriented development.
  • Promote walking, biking and use of transit within neighborhoods.
  • Reduce travel distances, enable “linked trips” where one trip provides for many activities, and allow drivers to park once and then get around easily on foot.
  • Encourage social interaction as people fulfil more of their needs in their local area.
  • Provide a mix of public spaces to cater to a range of users (children through to older adults).
  • Support “placemaking”.
  • Add commercial to a residential development for elevated sales and property taxes.
  • Spur revitalization.
  • Enhance an area’s unique identity and development potential.
  • Increase revenue.
  • Provide the 3Ds—population density, land use diversity, and pedestrian friendly design that are a potentially promising factor to prevent obesity.
  • Create more walkable neighborhoods that promote lower obesity rates and healthier communities. (Brown 2009)

Tools & Resources

Mixed Use
Municipal Research Services Center
Development Agreements
Municipal Research Services Center
Planned Actions
Municipal Research Services Center
Streamlining Local Permit Review Procedures
Municipal Research Services Center
Infill Development
Completing the Community Fabric
Sustainable Development and Smart Growth
Municipal Research Services Center
Infrastructure & Transit
Urban Land Institute
Planning & Design
Urban Land Institute
Climate & Energy
Urban Land Institute
Sustainable WA: Planning for Climate Change
WW Chapter, American Planning Association
Livable Washington
Washington Chapter, American Planning Association


Kendall Yards

Redevelopment of a former rail yard overlooking the Spokane River into a high density, mixed use neighborhood within a short walk from Downtown Spokane.


Vista Field Redevelopment Plan

A master plan to redevelop a former airport site in hear heart of Kennewick into a mixed use urban village that includes a mix of high to medium density residential homes with small scale neighborhood and destination commercial and cultural uses.

Share your example of a transportation efficient community.