Today, mixed-use developments are designed to be selfcontained residential pockets in which residents have most services they might need in daily life within reach in the same development.
T INK of a farm and its functionality. A family makes its home in the main building, a barn houses livestock raised for food and labour, the family manages a crop or two on the land, and consumes or sells their produce for subsistence and maintenance of the farm. To them, the place they call home is where they sleep, obtain food, entertain and work. Modern applications of this concept in the same terms is a mixed-use development.
Early forms of mixed-use developments were towns, where multiple amenities were concentrated into one area for practicality. In south Malaysia, these towns grew around main transportation, trade and industrial hubs such as early ports in Malacca and Johor where residents enjoyed the convenience of being able to easily travel between work and home. Today, mixed-use developments are designed to be self-contained residential pockets in which residents have most services they might need in daily life within reach in the same development.
It takes a village
Due to the confinement of multiple amenities in one area, pronounced effects abound from mixeduse developments over time. An obvious one would be the almost-instant creation of community within a development. In modern residential p homeowners usually form a representative committee that function to ease information transfer from developer to fellow residents.
These communities evolve into something more close-knit with their members working together on matters concerning the neighbourhood and creating a practice of looking out for each other, giving residents a sense of belonging, and providing them with an atmosphere of home.
As aforementioned, mixed-use developments are especially useful around public transportation hubs as the coexistence of residential, industrial, commercial, cultural and institutional functions can benefit from increased connectivity and reach. Similarly, public transportation hubs can benefit from increased traffic the mixeduse developments bring to them. Access to educational institutions is important for most families, thus making areas around schools choice picks for mixed-use projects as well.
With attention focused on the mixed-use development in an area, undeveloped or environmentallysensitive land in the , sacrificing the community’s need for residential and commercial space. Mixed-use developments enhance the walkability of an area due to co-location of amenities and can reduce the environmental impact of auto-transport use. Distances between different locations within the same mixeduse developments are typically walkable, thus reducing the dependency on cars and motorcycles as well as making the area more pedestrian- and bicyclefriendly.
The region of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor Baru – essentially a vast mixed-use development – boasts an array of residential, commercial, industrial, cultural and institutional facilities. The entire region covers the Senai International Airport, an extensive network of highways and connections, including both roads into Singapore, and presents an advantage for business owners to expand their reach into the other country.
Typically, developers would find investors first before kicking off a project. Iskandar Malaysia, however, was developed first with attractive infrastructure, arterial roads and utilities to bring in potential investors. A major local healthcare provider has set up presence in access to medical attention and care. The availability of medical care would then be attractive to families with elderly or ailing members due to greater proximity between home and hospital.
Although the possibility for overhang is high, the boom of healthcare and residential facilities, and the market inflow from Singaporeans seeking property in Johor Baru regulates the supply and demand factor.
Modernity in history
A highly ambitious project in progress involving a rare mixeduse development not centred around residential property, Melaka Gateway is set to reclaim the state’s glory of old by creating artificial islands and connecting them to the mainland as the state’s next huge tourism hotspot.
Melaka itself attracted almost 13 million tourists last year, giving the Melaka Gateway access to some of the state’s tourist traffic. Pulau Melaka, which is a part of the project is already connected to nearby private and international schools, and major healthcare providers on the mainland. This is in addition to existing industrial businesses on the port, which gives Melaka Gateway some amenities to rely on for the time being while its own amenities are being erected.
A linkage of multifunctional facilities will lend Melaka Gateway the ability to be focused primarily on tourism, cultural, industrial and trade practices in environmentally conserving and preserving ways that are expected to create more than 15,000 jobs when completed. This vast development reflects the extent to which a mixed-use development may be capitalised on when milked to its full potential.
Value and convenience
Negri Sembilan is no stranger to mixed-use developments, with a fair few dotted within the state in Seremban. Data from iPropertyiQ. com revealed Negri Sembilan’s Residential Sales Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to be similar to the country’s best-selling state – Selangor. The state’s property median price per square foot was also about half of the national median price per square foot, which lends to its desirability in the property market.
This mixed-use region also houses reputed educational and healthcare providers – an important consideration for families when looking to purchase homes. IMU Clinical School uses Hospital Tuanku Ja'afar for its training, and Matrix Global Schools and Kolej Tuanku Ja'afar (KTJ) are also located in the state. These provide residents with ease of access to housing, education, healthcare and commercial amenities all in one well-connected region.
Property in Seremban has access to some of Selangor’s valuable amenities, without the hefty real estate price tag attached to the latter. More a mixed-use region like Iskandar Malaysia than a single development, more young professionals are purchasing homes in Negri Sembilan while working in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur, making use of the quick and accessible modes of transportation to the capital.
Look before you leap
Pulling people from surrounding areas into a concentrated population could increase affordable housing opportunities due to high demand and mixed-use developments also promote efficient use of land and infrastructure, especially with high-rises. A residential area with commercial lots built in creates job opportunities and increased housing choices. However, there could be some shortcomings to mixed-use developments like over-supply, so look before you leap. There is much to be gained in investing in the South and with careful considerations of these great developments, it could well be the jewel in your property crown.