Author Topic: Audacious Plan to Turn a Sprawling Suburb Into a Big City  (Read 1426 times)


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Audacious Plan to Turn a Sprawling Suburb Into a Big City
« on: March 30, 2015, 09:14:49 AM »
Tysons Corner, Virginia is home to the most ambitious re-urbanization project on Earth.

Thanks to shopping malls and federal contracting dollars, Tysons Corner exploded from an empty cow field in the 1960s to America’s 12th-largest employment center in 2008. Along the way, it attracted Fortune 500 companies and some 120,000 total employees, becoming a textbook example of what’s known as an “edge city,” a concentration of business activity outside of a traditional downtown. But all this growth created so much congestion that by the early 2000s, it became clear Tysons wouldn’t survive if it didn’t transform itself from a car-clogged commuter drop zone into a vibrant, livable city.

County officials launched a sweeping initiative and drafted an urbanization plan defined by walkable city centers, seamlessly integrated public transportation, and acres of parkland. Politicians rewrote land-use rules, developers invested billions of dollars, and residents shouldered new taxes in an all-or-nothing bet that the transformation would convince people—by the tens of thousands—to move to an area best known for having more than 160,000 parking spaces. By 2050, proponents of the effort are banking on a population surge from 19,600 people today to as many as 100,000.

While other suburbs have undergone similar retrofittings, none has attempted anything on this scale.