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A Healthy Mix?

Health-Food Retail and Mixed-Use Development- Mobility-related Analysis of Grocery-Shopping Behavior in Irvine, California


Benjamin Heldt

Mixed-use developments are one of the means planners use to realize land-use changes required by SB375 to encounter climate change. The mix of land uses is intended to reduce distances between activities. However, for their economic viability, such projects require specialty retail as anchor tenants which draw a special customer base that may be willing to travel far. Consequently, specialty may contradict a mixed-use development’s intention to reduce traffic. This research looks into the spatial behavior of the customers of a health-food store that is located at the mixed-use development «Park Place» in Irvine, CA. Using a POS-intercept survey and GIS, the author found that regular health-food shoppers indeed travel significantly farther distances than occasional health-food shoppers.


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3 Mixed use development and health food retail


The present study attempts to analyze what happens if MXD and specialty re- tail meet. It does so by investigating consumer shopping travel patterns. To better understand this analysis, it will be explained what a mixed use develop- ment is and what health food retail as a sort of specialty retail characterizes. 3.1 Mixed use development This section gives an introduction to the concept of mixed use development in general. Later (Chapter 6.1) these aspects are applied to a specific development in Irvine and the mixed use project will be described in more detail. Figure 3.1: An exemplary mixed use development, the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany (Quelle: Olivier Bruchez, flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0) Definition MXD’s emerged during the rise of the New Urbanism as one means to create vital livable neighborhoods (cf. Chapter 2.2). The term “mixed use develop- ment” was coined more than 30 years ago by the Urban Land Institute (ULI): “A ‘mixed use development’ means a relatively large-scale real estate project characterized by: three or more significant revenue-producing uses (such as retail, office, residential, hotel/motel, and recreation – which in well-planned projects are mutually supporting); significant functional and physical integration of project components (and thus a highly-intensive use of land), including uninterrupted pedestrian connections; and development in conformance with a coherent plan (which frequently stipulates the type and scale of uses, permitted densities and related items).” (WITHERSPOON et al. 1976, p. 6). 16 3 Mixed use development and health food retail Furthermore, mixed use developments consist of at...

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