Mandatory reading before buying in or signing a residential or commercial lease in a mixed-use or high density community.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Higher density / mixed used communities, pros & cons

A collection of articles and references citing pros and cons of increasing density and incorporating mixed land uses


Advantages promoted by the industry:

Walkable communities

Affordable lifestyles near urban amenities

Reduces sprawl and conserves land and environmental resources

Promotes social interaction

Challenges and disadvantages of mixed use:

Residential and commercial owners and residents often clash, because they hold opposing interests and goals

Residential owners may be expected to subsidize commercial costs by paying more than their fair share of assessments to the master property owners’ association

Retail and Restaurant commercial tenants earn limited profits, may struggle to survive with limited foot traffic and no viable strategy to draw in customers from outside the community

Close proximity of commercial uses may expose residents to disturbances such as noise, foul odors, bright lights, and similar quality of life nuisances

Challenges and disadvantaged of increased housing density:

Residents have little privacy, increased exposure to nuisances such as noise from neighboring housing units

Parking is extremely limited or, if available, very costly

Traffic increases in suburban zones, where public transit is unavailable

Working class and low income residents are often priced out of redeveloped dense housing neighborhoods

In urban settings, limited daylight exposure for residents in highrise buildings

High concentration of hard surfaces and shortage of green space makes it difficult to manage storm water and prevent flood hazards

Many communities not designed to accommodate families with children


Read more:

Higher Density/Mixed Use Communities – Pros & Cons

1 thought on “Mandatory reading before buying in or signing a residential or commercial lease in a mixed-use or high density community.

  1. Excellent information Deborah. Mixed-use developments fall into two broad categories. They are almost all structured in such a way that they yield a net financial benefit to the residential or commercial unit owners. The trick, if you are a residential buyer is to try and figure out whether the mixed-use development you are buying into is one that benefits the residential owners financially or one that results in the residential owners subsidizing the commercial unit owners investment. Once you have figured that out then all you have to do is deal with all of the other issues that you face when owning a condominium…

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