Mixed-use development can be broadly defined as development that contains numerous types of uses, including commercial, retail, restaurants, offices and residential, within the same structure or within numerous structures adjacent to each other or within a short walking distance. Mixed use development was the predominant development pattern up until the early part of the 20th Century. The wide-scale adoption of “Euclidean” zoning by local jurisdictions, rapid growth in automobile ownership, as well as the single-family housing boom after World War II resulted in a major shift towards development of segregated land uses, predominantly accessible by automobile.
Proponents for mixed-use argue that this form of development creates better civic places, encourages the redevelopment of smaller infill lots, blighted areas and historic properties, creates more walkable communities, uses land more efficiently and discourages urban sprawl and reduces the reliance on the automobile. Others take a more hesitant approach, particularly to those citing mixed-use as a panacea. They cite the overbuilt condo market, difficulty obtaining financing, and complex and expensive design requirements as reasons why mixed-use is not practical on a wide scale at this time.