Urban Updates: How Mixed-Use and New Urbanism Revitalize A City


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The infrastructure of the American urban core is quickly changing. The traditional downtown business hub that vanishes after 5 p.m. is transforming into a new kind of city, one that stems from the new urbanism philosophy.

While you may be familiar with quite a few “mixed-use developments” popping up around town, this term alludes to so much more. Builders call these developments “mixed use” because quite literally the structure mixes the use for office space, retail, and residential living into one building. With a need to bring the connectivity to urban centers and downtown areas, these mixed-use developments give city dwellers the ability to have all their needs in one convenient location.

A new kind of city

This connects right into the idea of live-work-play that is becoming a high priority for residents and employees; and what we refer to as new urbanism.


New urbanism is a planning and development approach based on walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. It simply focuses on human-scaled urban design. The purpose here is to revitalize urban areas, giving them a new, vibrant life of activity, community, and conscious design.




It’s about turning urban cores greener, safer, and cleaner with a primary focus on walkability and livability. With mixed-use and new urbanism, the day to night transition of urban areas becomes a strong appeal.


When landscape, architecture, and infrastructure all come together in urban design, everyone from businesses and employees to young professionals and families can find the value in these destinations.


It’s about making public spaces a high priority and designing the urban landscape around people, not cars. This extends into thoughtful transportation options such as walking, bicycling, transit, and driving. New urbanist takes mixed-use design a step further into incorporating greenspace, plazas, squares, sidewalks, and street-level retail into an interactive public life.


Picture this…

Residents who live and work in one of these walkable communities can grab a coffee from a local shop on their walk to work, passing greenery and parks, and enjoying wide, walkable city streets. On a lunch break, they can stroll over to an outdoor community park with food trucks or enjoy the patio weather at one of the nearby cafes.




After work, happy hours kick off and the business crowd can head to the multiple bars or restaurants in the area to enjoy a discounted drink before continuing their night. Heading back to their apartment home to change for a workout, they can choose between their fitness center at work, at their apartment community, or across the street at the local gym — all walkable and convenient.


Of course, their grocer is built into the community and only takes a short walk to grab dinner ingredients, groceries for the week, or quick snack if they’re on the go. As the day transitions into night, the options remain open with dining, shopping, or transit to surrounding communities. The key is feeling safe as you stroll around your neighborhood and feeling a sense of community from when you wake up to lights out.   


This sums up only one scenario of someone living in a mixed-use, new urbanism community.

Calling all communities

This blend of office, living, and entertainment spaces brings a new appeal to downtown areas.


Single-use development has proven to be a challenge with complaints of longer commute times, high costs for a single-use space, and the general lack of interest from millennials. In contrast, mixed-use developments are appealing to more and more people — not to mention the community is enjoying more of the benefits.


According to the case study RESTORE by Sonoran Institute, “From an economic development perspective, having residents and workers in the same area creates activity and a vitality via increased foot traffic, not just during the day, but also in the evenings. Office and retail spaces draw visitors during the day, while residential, restaurant and entertainment spaces create a more lively experience in the evenings.”

Dallas Urbanists

In downtown Dallas specifically, renovations towards this new urbanist lifestyles are coming. With Klyde Warren Park sitting within the Arts District and offering a community gathering place for business workers, families, and Dallas residents, the groundwork for new urbanism is already taking place.




Located across the street from the Dallas Museum of Arts lies Trammell Crow Center, an office building looking to redefine the day-to-night transition of the Arts District. Surrounded by abundant amenities, from restaurants and retail to endless art and events, the building is becoming an agent of change to the area.


With more to come in 2018, the Dallas Arts District is well-positioned for creating this new urbanism lifestyle. Keep an eye out for more updates as Trammell Crow Center continues to reveal the renovations coming to the area!