HIP Tool: Mixed-Use Development

Mixed-use developments co-locate two or more types of land uses in a building or project. Through zoning, jurisdictions can foster mixed-use projects, as well as a mix of uses within a planning district, such as residential, commercial, office, civic/institutional and open space.


Traditional urban forms freely mixed uses both in neighborhoods and individual buildings. With the advent of zoning, this style of development was “zoned out” of some urban areas. Recently, the smart growth movement has encouraged cities to return to mixed-use patterns as way to foster healthy communities by placing residential units in close proximity to services, retail, offices and transit. This return to mixed use projects and zoning:

  • Promotes diverse housing options.
  • Maximizes limited available land and buildings within built-out cities and helps contain growth in urban areas instead of rural areas.
  • Amplifies the use of transit nodes or transit corridors.

Mixed-use development may not inherently provide more affordable housing options, but such provisions can be encouraged through other tools, like density bonuses or multifamily tax exemptions. Mixed-use development provides residents with access to amenities like businesses, services and transit, improving quality of life in neighborhoods and reducing transportation costs and congestion.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques
  • Urban Centers

Project Types

  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental
  • Market Rate
  • Subsidized

Affordability Level

  • 80 to 120% AMI
  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Diversity