Why mixed-use developments represent the future of the community
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Why mixed-use developments represent the future of the community

Why mixed-use developments represent the future of the community

Mixed-use developments have the power to add immense value to all stakeholders

Gulf Business

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on every aspect of our lives – from how we work, to how we socialise and interact with our friends and families. The virus has also caused many of us to question our very notion of community. The last few decades have witnessed a marked rise in individualism. The idea of community as a physical location has evolved into a concept that is focused less on a literal place and more on shared passions and circumstances that transcend geographical borders. Whilst such communities are more relevant than ever, especially as many people around the world are forced to communicate and engage through digital means only, the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of community in the traditional sense; it has become incredibly clear just how much we need and rely upon the support of those around us, and how much we miss them when we are unable to see them every day.

If we have learned one lesson from Covid-19, it is that our fates are intertwined, and that living in an environment in which we feel valued, respected, and looked after is vital to our overall sense of wellbeing. By creating communities that fulfill residents’ daily and weekly needs, we can ensure superior living experiences for all. For some, that will mean easy access to top schools or healthcare facilities whilst others may relish the opportunity to live in an area with ample green space, or near entertainment venues and a plethora of food and beverage options. As real estate developers, our role is to create rich communities in which people of all ages can live a life that is most meaningful to them.

As a result, I firmly believe that the mixed-use development represents the community of the future.

A mixed-use development is defined as urban planning that blends residential, commercial, cultural, and institutional uses into one space. In doing so, this type of community enables citizens to seamlessly integrate their work, home, and social lives to promote balance. Interestingly, it supports the building of community in the traditional sense – that is as defined by a physical space – and equally, the more contemporary concept of community as characterised by the coming together of people for personal fulfilment.

Our objective is to develop modern communities that cater to the current and future needs of residents, whilst adhering to best-in-class construction and design standards. Driving efficiency and sustainability are key priorities; if we are to provide superior living experiences then it is vital that we think about the wider effects of our development on the economy and how it supports important national visions and strategies.

Contributing to increasing the rate of home ownership in the kingdom to 70 per cent by 2030 is one important goal; mixed-use developments also provide a myriad of attractive investment opportunities which is key to stimulating economic growth in urban areas.

The diverse portfolio of revenue streams within such developments means that many investors are attracted to the diversity of risk. With the future still uncertain for many industries, including food and beverage, retail, entertainment and commercial entities, mixed-use buildings go beyond offering a desirable mix of amenities for residents; they too offer a safer option for property owners in an unpredictable rental market.

Another key advantage is their agility; that is, their ability to evolve in line with the community’s changing needs, and this is what will be sure to guarantee their long-term success.

Mixed-use developments have the power to add immense value to all stakeholders – from residents, to small business owners, to real estate developers to investors. Whilst they have certainly been growing in popularity for several years, the Covid-19 pandemic has only served to further illustrate the strength of their offering. Our very notion of what makes a strong community has been challenged in the past year, and as such, it is vital that we find such solutions in our urban planning. Mixed-use developments present a great option, and in many ways represent the future of the community, not just in the kingdom, but for other major cities around the world.

David Grover is the group CEO of ROSHN, Saudi Arabia’s national community developer

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