- Land development approach merging distinct uses (commercial, residential, leisure) for greater density and diversity in a given geographical area
- May feature added public transit and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
- Aims to boost physical activity for improved health and active transportation to decrease vehicle miles traveled
- Issue Areas
Housing and community development
- Target Population
- Cost per Participant
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Potential for increased tax revenue per acre, more diverse and resilient tax base overall
- Improved health outcomes, largely stemming from higher levels of physical activity
- Reduced vehicle miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, transportation expenses, and travel time
- Greater independent mobility for non-drivers and elderly people to "age in place"
- Improved traffic safety
- Higher levels of integration and reduced geographic isolation of neighborhoods
Best practices in implementation
- Partner closely with local economic development agencies, housing authorities, businesses, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to identify potential projects and sources of funding.
- Set clear, community-informed criteria and goals for any given development, including considerations for how a project will specifically benefit businesses, workers, and the community as a whole.
- Identify and evaluate existing local assets that may provide a competitive advantage in attracting new investments and supporting businesses, such as residents with unique skills; local architecture and infrastructure; academic, technical and medical institutions; and more.
- Prioritize development projects that strike a balance: the opportunity must be large enough to make a significant community impact, but small enough to make tangible, concrete improvements.
- Launch a community engagement initiative to help define the targeted development area, including soliciting feedback from existing residents and other affected stakeholders, as well as potential employers, employees, industry leaders, and more.
- Leverage both qualitative and quantitative data to inform a development strategy, including walkability audits, cultural inventories, public transit routes, and community needs/values surveys.
- Incorporate existing infrastructure and/or future infrastructure investment into mixed use development planning.
- Ensure proposed projects leverage urban and community design best practices that support desired health outcomes, such as creating a development compact enough to allow for substantial walkability.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps evidence overview of mixed-use development "Selling Smart Growth: Communicating the direct benefits of more accessible, multi-modal locations to households, businesses and governments," Victoria Transport Policy Institute (2020) US Environmental Protection Agency: Smart Growth (2020) Smart Growth communities examples Smart Growth website Center for Active Design: "Via Verde"