“Mixed Use” Building Trends Are More Pervasive Than Expected
Latest Research: New Urbanists built 30% of single-family homes from 2005 to 2015.
The New Urbanism has had a major impact on planning, with most of the United States now under some version of the SmartCode, a euphemism for a planning method that aims to create compact settlements surrounded by and open, rural lands, avoiding the sprawling patterns of suburban-style development promoted by separated-use zoning. In other words, SmartCode focuses on development forms, such as tightly clustered multi-story buildings, or widely separated single-story buildings, rather than segregation by the use made of those buildings, residential, commercial, etc. Hence, a term associated with the New Urbanism and the SmartCode is term “mixed use.” Mixing commercial, light industrial, and residential occupancy.
In a prior post, “Should you Embrace New Urbanism?” I wrote about the dearth of data about the true influence of this planning movement, although just looking around, it becomes obvious that almost all towns have at least one New-Urbanist-inspired neighborhood.
Since that post, Steve Mouzon and I were engaged by a client to come up with statistics. Based on an email survey run by Mouzon of the major New Urbanist planners and town founders (i.e. developers), the results surprised everyone: The number of overtly New Urbanist neighborhoods between 2005 and 2015 exceeds 30% of the total new, single family development.
A huge niche, into which small developers and home builders fit nicely: Think pocket neighborhoods and high-craftsman, traditional exteriors.
The map at the top of this post shows what this looks like — and you can click here to view the (still evolving) map Steve Mouzon has drawn showing the location of New Urbanist places. Keep in mind, beyond the self-identified New Urbanism, many imitators incorporate stylistic elements of this trend.