5 Things to Consider with Mixed-Use Retail

There’s no doubt that mixed-use developments are on the rise. With a growing number of people migrating back to urban areas, mixed-use spaces create an opportunity to offer urban dwellers an environment that caters to many needs in a compact space. Here are 5 things to consider when planning your mixed-use development:

  1. Connect indoor and outdoor spaces. Large windows and glass doors, open air restaurants, and indoor gardens can blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Try reimagining a breezeway as a greenhouse full of vibrant, oxygen-producing plants or continue interior flooring to an outdoor area. Covered patios allow protection from rain or hot sun while still allowing visitors to experience outdoors.
  2. Create gathering spaces for small groups. Have you ever been walking through a busy thoroughfare and had the people in front of you suddenly stop, while a few members of their group sit down, causing a bottleneck in pedestrian traffic? In many cases, this behavior is actually encouraged by poorly thought out seating areas. Moving seating areas away from the main traffic can help keep traffic moving. Odd leftover spaces, little nooks and crannies, or the shade of an intentionally-placed tree can all be put to use as gathering spaces.
  3. Consider the whole family. With such a broad audience making use of your development, it’s important to consider the needs of all family members. Is there space for kids to burn off some energy or take a break from other less-than-kid-friendly activities? If so, how will the noise level impact residents? If the grandparents are coming for a visit, how easily can they get around? Is seating readily available at frequent locations in case they get tired? How active are the residents? Would they benefit from a walking/jogging path or other active space?
  4. Where to put all that trash. Residents, stores, and especially restaurants can create a huge amount of waste, but where do you put it when space is limited? As of yet, there is no 100% effective way to eliminate odor, but considering typical wind direction can help. If you can’t stop the odor, you can at least hide it within a durable and attractive enclosure.
  5. All-seasons use. If your development is in an area that experiences seasonal changes, consider how the space might be used in colder months when people are less likely to be outdoors. Replacing an outdoor play space with an ice rink, filling it with snow for sculpting, or serving hot chocolate around a fire pit are just a few possibilities.