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North Texas 2050 Implementation: Mixed Use Centers

Definitions and Criteria for Mixed Use Centers

North Texas 2050 views mixed use centers as an important part of the regionís successful and sustainable future. The vision and action package describes mixed use centers in general and gives further information about four scales of mixed use centers (Regional, Metropolitan, Community and Neighborhood) that each contribute to our regionís future. These descriptions from North Texas 2050 are:

Definitions of Mixed Use Centers

The mixed use centers are: Regional, Metropolitan, Community and Neighborhood. The four centers reflect areas with a variety of uses (including both employment and housing), at least a moderate intensity of development and, for some, their roles as distinct or traditional centers of communities. The mixed use centers differ in terms of size, scale, and specific function. For the most part, Regional and Metropolitan centers are similar in that they provide a strong employment base for the North Texas region, have a mix of land uses, and are highly developed. In turn, Community and Neighborhood centers are also similar. They are mixed use but do not provide as many job opportunities as the larger Mixed Use Centers. Also these two centers may have a single family residential component compared to the Regional and Metropolitan centers, where most residential uses are at higher densities. All of the centers are envisioned to be mixed use and pedestrian friendly, with more intense development than their surroundings. Characteristics common to all four are the presence of transportation connections and rapid transit lines. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is expected around transit stations in all four types of Mixed Use Centers.

Specific criteria have been established to distinguish the four centers and to identify where they are located in the region. The table in Exhibit 4.3 (of North Texas 2050) summarizes key criteria defining Mixed Use Centers. A more detailed description of each mixed use center follows.

Regional Centers

Regional Centers are the densest of the four mixed use centers, with a wide variety of uses. A Regional Center has a balance of office, retail, entertainment, light industrial and multi-family residential uses. Regional Centers are envisioned as pedestrian-oriented, urban areas, in a central location. All modes of transportation serve the Regional Centers. The North Texas region has two Regional Centers,  Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth.

Metropolitan Centers

Metropolitan Centers offer the same variety of uses, just on a  somewhat smaller scale.  Their development is less intense than Regional Centers. They tend to be populated urban areas that are primarily mixed-use, accommodating business and multi-family residential land uses. They meet a wide variety of business and employment needs and are large enough to serve several surrounding cities. Metropolitan Centers also include the larger historic downtowns of cities in the North Texas area. Metropolitan centers are served by one or more corridor/regional transit lines and local bus services. Twenty Metropolitan Centers have been identified so far and examples of these centers are below:

  • Addison (includes Addison Circle and Vitruvian Park)
  • Downtown Denton
  • Las Colinas
  • La Villita
  • Legacy Town Center

Community Centers

Community Centers have a mix of uses and are distinguished by their smaller size and scale.  Community Centers offer development that provides retail and residential within the same building or in close, walkable proximity to one another. They attract visitors and people from across the region because of their uniqueness, historic nature and design character. They provide access to shops, restaurants and community-oriented services. Community Centers are traditionally located on a major arterial network and served by a transit route providing direct transit to at least one Metropolitan Center. Thirty-nine Community Centers have been identified so far and a few examples of these centers are as follows:

  • Berry/University
  • Bishop Arts District
  • Brick Row
  • Downtown Arlington
  • Downtown Garland
  • Park Lane Place

Neighborhood Centers

This is the smallest of the fur Mixed Use center types. Neighborhood Centers serve the shopping, service or entertainment needs of one or more existing or planned residential neighborhoods. They contain a diverse mix of land uses, at a neighborhood scale, including those schools, shopping, personal services and restaurants. These centers may offer quality amenities, like parks, that attract people from the adjacent neighborhoods.
Good pedestrian, bicycle and bus transportation links are found in Neighborhood Centers; some may also include transit stations and adjacent Transit-Oriented Development. Neighborhood Centers are served by local roads and local transit to the nearest larger mixed use center. Over 25 Neighborhood Centers have already been identified to date. Examples of Neighborhood Centers include:

  • Rockwall Commons in Rockwall
  • Desoto Town Center
  • Downtown Mansfield
  • Bluebonnet Circle




Criteria for Mixed Use Centers

Criteria for identifying mixed use centers are shown in the table below:


Mix of Uses

Employment Intensity

Residential Density



Transit System Function

Regional Center

Office, retail, MF residential, light industrial and entertainment; includes mixed-use. Emphasis on employment uses.

100 - 200 jobs/acre

50 - 100 units/acre

600 - 1,000 acres

5 to 50 stories

All modes of transportation; regional public transit, parking restrictions, and served by multiple major highways.

Metropolitan Center

Office, retail, MF residential and entertainment; includes mixed-use.

50 - 80 jobs/acre

15 - 50 units/acre

100 - 500 acres

2 to10 stories

Served by one or more corridor/ regional lines and local services. Freeways with multiple access points. In some cases served by public transit.

Community Center

SF and MF residential and retail; includes mixed-use.

30 - 50 jobs/acre

5 - 10 units/acre

20 - 100 acres

1 to 5 stories

Served by at least several local transit and located on an arterial network. Served by a transit route providing connections to at least one Metropolitan Center.  Commuter parking in located in this center. In some cases served by public transit.

Neighborhood Center

Mix of uses at a neighborhood scale.

20 - 30 jobs/acre

10 - 15 units/acre

20 - 100 acres

1 to 5 stories

Served by local roads and local transit to nearest larger center. Commuter parking in located in this center. In some cases served by public transit.

Note: Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) projects may occur within any of these centers.

Specific policy recommendations related to mixed use centers are found in the document beginning on Page 44 of North Texas 2050.


See Also: