Small, adaptable buildings enable horizontal mixed-use, not vertical, and higher value

From Place Shakers writer Hazel Borys: "We’ve long valued mixed use as a social condenser.  And those gathering places that grow naturally out of mixing uses produce the highest dollars per square foot in the surrounding neighbourhood – for developers, owners, and cities. "The truth is local markets often don’t support more than 1-story retail right now, so a mixture of horizontal uses within a 5-minute walk still makes for a great place and is easier to finance.  And it allows for smaller developers to take on a few blocks — or a few lots — which is how most great old urbanism was built.  More bullish markets are building 1-story structures strong enough to carry additional stories later.

"The first, most essential tool to enabling incremental development is the lot.  Mixed use developed on a lot-by-lot basis can expand, contract, and repurpose.  Subdivision of lots — instead of large parcel development — was historically one of the greatest generators of wealth. Savvy cities are subdividing small lots again, and removing other zoning barriers like suburban parking requirements.  "  Full post here.  (Photo credit: Victor Dover.)