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Living in mixed-use areas

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Mixed-use development, which allows people to live, work, play and shop in one place, is becoming a more practical lifestyle. Consumer preferences for neighborhood and community features have shifted from large-scale residential developments to mixed-use developments, where residential, commercial, cultural and industrial uses blend.

Based on the National Community and Transportation Preference Survey conducted by National Association of Realtors in America, most of the respondents prefer walkable communities. The study revealed that 48% of respondents prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of the community’s amenities.

The poll also showed that millennials (ages 18 to 34 years old), which comprise the highest percentage of first-time homebuyers, prefer to live in a place where shops and restaurants are walking distance or only requires a short commute. They favor developing communities where people do not need to drive long distances to work or shop.

For many, walkable community means living in a community where everything you need comes in one place. But, is living in a mixed-use community fits your lifestyle and preferences? To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of living in mixed-use developments as identified by an online property company in Asia, PropertyGuru.

The first advantage of living in a mixed-use community is convenience. In PropertyGuru’s Web site, it explains that the best thing about living in a mixed-use development is residents don’t need to travel far from the comfort of their home to do some retail or grocery shopping.

Second, although mixed residential developments usually fetch a higher price, it is still considered as a good investment. Such developments are in demand due to its added benefits in terms of accessibility in commercial establishments. Thus, the cost is justifiable enough.

Residents in mixed-use community get to save money and time on fuel and parking. Since the essential establishments are walking distance, residents don’t have to use their car and spend some money for fuel. They are also free from experiencing the hassle of looking for parking spaces that could ruin their schedule and could cost them additional expense.

Above all of these, PropertyGuru says that convenience drives mixed-use community the most. “In a society where work takes up more than three quarters of a day, having shops and other amenities near home is a welcomed addition. Instead of travelling 15 minutes or half an hour to the nearest mall for some window shopping, residents can simply take the lift down and walk around leisurely without worrying about travel time overlapping with dinner or bedtime,” PropertyGuru says.

On the other hand, the worst thing about mixed-use developments is it can easily become overcrowded. Although the shopping malls and other establishments are originally meant to cater the residents, it is still open for everyone. Thus, the level of noise can get unmanageable, especially when there are bars and pubs in the vicinity.

And since high-income earners are usually the ones able to afford residential units in mixed-use community, prices of goods in shops and restaurants are largely driven up. “As a result of this, the disparity of wealth will only shape the neighborhood in favor of the target demographic, creating an unbalanced population model in the country,” the site says.  Mark Louis F. Ferrolino

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