Best Practice

GreenStep City Best Practices: Land Use
Mixed Uses {BP No. 8}

Develop efficient land patterns that generate community health and wealth.

Best Practice Actions

a. Adjacent to an existing employment or residential center.
b. Designed to facilitate and encourage access by walking, biking, or other non-vehicle travel modes.
c. Accessible by regular transit service.

Optional Best Practice for Step 3 Recognition

Category A cities: implement this best practice by completing any two actions.

Category B and C cities: implement this best practice by completing any one action.


Optional Metric for Step 4 Recognition

Metric # 7: Land Use


Meeting sustainable urbanism's goal of complete, compact and connected communities (see Urban Design with Nature) depends on mixing land uses, which lowers infrastructure costs, increases property taxes/acre, increases walkability and decreases traffic fatalities, and minimizes environmental impacts and increases a community's health and quality of life. A city can use its land use authority and other tools to help create a vibrant community that attracts jobs, fosters economic development, and that is an appealing place in which people can live, work, and recreate without having to drive everywhere for every activity of daily living. Growth can happen in a manner where roads, transit, schools, ecologic services, and access to retail, commercial, jobs, and industrial facilities are planned for and efficiently provided through connection and coordination with existing local and regional infrastructure and services.

In cities across the nation, neighborhoods and districts of compact development with a mix of land uses, transportation options and pedestrian-friendly design have reduced driving from 20% to 40% compared to large single-use zoning districts. And such areas have resulted in, to use the Urban Land Institute's phrase, cities of convenience, conviviality, and charm. And as the Congress for the New Urbanism phrases the challenge before cities: Disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural lands and wilderness, and the erosion of society‚Äôs built heritage is one interrelated community-building challenge.

Greenstep Advisor

Best Practice Advisor Photo

Brian Ross, Vice President - Renewable Energy, Great Plains Institute: 612/767-7296,,

Connection to State Policy

As of July 1, 2009 the new Minnesota Education Omnibus Law includes provisions to eliminate minimum acreage requirements for schools, and to remove the bias against renovating, rather than rebuilding, old, typically more compact schools within walking and biking distance of residential neighborhoods.


Major Benefit