Mixed Use Development

Ok, I know, I’m getting a little technical here, but for anyone who lives or is going to live anywhere, this is important! Where you live will eventually affect your lifestyle. One of the reasons I love Ames is because it is a small college town of around 50,000, including students, and its “livable”, so very very livable. You could actually walk to Target, there are sidewalks and bike paths all over the place, and the city mothers and fathers are even trying their hand at mixed used development.

“IF THERE IS ONE THING that architects, planners and developers agree on at the beginning of the 21st Century, it’s that the ideal form of commercial development mixes housing, office and retail in a lively community setting.”

If you want to know why, go here and read some more from the source of this quote. But I do wonder how it all works out in actuality. Here are some pics from West Towne. Do you know anyone who lives there? Do they like it?

In West Towne, the businesses are on the ground floors and the apartments are up above. On the other side of the road are single family homes and up the road a little are the gas station and a few restaurants, and it’s all within walking distance. Of course, if you live in a small town or over on Clark Ave, you already have a lot within walking distance, although you probably don’t have apartments.

More theory says that you can grow in a mixed used development. You and your friends might start out there in an apartment, work at the local salon, then start your own business in the neighborhood and move to a house with the two kids and a dog, and still be in “your” neighborhood, and you’ll care about that neighborhood, because you’ve put down roots there. Your quality of life will be better because you don’t have to spend so much time driving everywhere, you’ll see the same people more often, make more friends, feel more connected. You won’t have to lose two hours a day away from your family driving on hot, congested highways. You could walk, or ride your bike to work, maybe even get by with one car! Anyway, you get the idea! But the businesses have been slow to come to West Towne. It might be starting to pick up…it will be interesting to see. So…stay tuned!

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