Tag Archives: land use

Land Use, Transportation

Which Attributes Make a Community Successful?

COG Planners Sophie Mintier and Ryan Hand spoke about the Place + Opportunity report at a gathering of transportation practitioners and High Speed Rail Summit participants at Mobility Lab’s “Lunch at the Lab” series in Arlington County. The presentation details what the Region Forward team is doing in regards to strengthening the economic vitality of […]

Land Use, Transportation

Stat of the Week: 80,686,000 sq ft

If you’ve seen the skyline of the new Metro tracks along the Silver Line in Northern Virginia, the cranes over the 14th Street Corridor in the District of Columbia, or heard of the new development going on at Largo Town Center in Prince George’s County Maryland, you know that new office space is coming to […]

Land Use, Transportation

Activity Centers Key Focus of Regional Transportation Priorities Plan

Not all of the top strategies for addressing the Washington region’s most significant transportation challenges will require traditional infrastructure expansions, things like road widening, adding more transit service, or installing new bike lanes or sidewalks. Earlier this month, when it approved the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, the Transportation Planning Board reiterated the important role that changes […]

Economy, Land Use

Activity Centers are Home to Most New Offices

Who does not like a shorter commute? Communities throughout Metropolitan Washington have worked diligently to create a network of Activity Centers that dexterously increase livability –including less time spent on congested roads and packed Metro cars- while enabling our economy to grow. Activity Centers are places that concentrate jobs, housing, retail, and amenities. This approach […]

Coalition Work, Economy, Housing, Land Use, Report

Place + Opportunity: Strategies for Creating Great Communities and a Stronger Region

Today, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors approved Place + Opportunity, a report that presents a regional framework to understand common challenges and opportunities among Activity Centers in our region. Examining a cross section of the region’s 141 Activity Centers, the Place + Opportunity Project Team conducted detailed analysis of each […]

Land Use

Bracket Challenge: Building Complete Communities in Metro Washington

Should a county put in a new Metrorail station or build a streetcar? Should a city allow for taller buildings in certain areas or implement a form-based code? Should a town promote affordable housing to buy, to rent, or both? These are some of the investment choices that Region Forward Coalition members debated during their […]

Economy

FBI Competition Might Make Headlines, but Area Leaders are Committed to Cooperation on Many Economic Issues

At a forum today organized by the DC Chamber of Commerce and Washington Business Journal, several top elected officials discussed regional cooperation, specifically in regards to economic development. Not surprisingly, the panel of D.C. Mayor Vince Gray, U.S. Congressman Gerry Connolly, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Montgomery County Executive Isiah (Ike) Leggett, and Prince George’s County […]

Transportation

Surveys Show Transportation Behavior Varies Widely Across Region

The results of a series of in-depth travel surveys released by the Transportation Planning Board in March highlight key differences in how people live and travel in higher-density areas with greater proximity to transit compared to those with lower densities and fewer travel options. Of the seven surveyed areas, the three with the highest population densities were […]

Land Use

Frederick County’s Activity Centers in the Spotlight

A recent article in the Frederick News Post highlights the County’s Activity Centers and discusses in great detail how concentrating growth and development in these mixed-use places will benefit Frederick’s economy, improve the County’s quality of life, and preserve its agriculture, all while accommodating more residents. With its population of 233,000 expected to grow to […]

Transportation

Studies Focus on Making Areas Near Transit Safer, Easier to Use, and More Affordable

In 2012, the Transportation Planning Board funded three planning studies to look at ways to make commercial and residential areas near transit stations in the Washington region safer and easier to use, or to make those areas more affordable places to live. The TPB funded the studies under its Transportation/Land-Use Connections Program, or TLC, which, […]

Land Use

A Plan for Investing in Metropolitan Washington to Improve Walkability and Economic Performance

Washington, now that the sequester is officially here, what does it mean for your community? Will you see the value of your home decrease in a similar way to the housing market crash in 2008? Hopefully not. But to answer this question you might first ask yourself if you live in a walkable urban place? […]

Transportation

Updates to Region’s Long-Range Transportation Plan Reflect Public Input

The annual process of updating the region’s constrained long-range transportation plan, or CLRP, started last October when the Transportation Planning Board called on state, local, and regional transportation agencies to submit their proposed additions and changes. Now, following a period of public comment on the package of 21 proposals that were submitted by the Virginia and District of Columbia […]

Land Use

With the Region Nearing 7 Million People in 2040, Land Use & Transportation Coordination Matters More Than Ever

New forecasts released yesterday show metropolitan Washington’s population growing by more than 30% over the next few decades, reaching nearly seven million by 2040. How we handle that growth – at 1.6 million additional people, it’s like adding the city of Philadelphia to our region – is going to be critical in determining whether metropolitan […]

Land Use

Activity Centers: Where Metropolitan Washington is Growing

Regional leaders voted today to approve an updated set of Activity Centers for metropolitan Washington.* These 139 Centers include existing urban centers, traditional towns, transit hubs, as well as areas expecting future growth.

Scroll below the text to see an ABC 7 video clip and additional media coverage of the decision.

For example, Georgetown is a vibrant, walkable place already built-out with a strong mix of housing and businesses. Activity Centers also include locations as diverse as NoMa, Clarendon, downtown Frederick, and Silver Spring where major growth is expected to occur over the next several decades and where investments should be prioritized.

While the Centers vary in scale and type, the basic concept behind them is the same: concentrate development in areas that will have the planning and infrastructure in place to support it. By focusing growth in Activity Centers, the region will improve connections between housing and jobs, reduce environmental impact, and make a better use of limited funds.

The Centers will also promote development around area transit such as Silver Line Metro stations in Northern Virginia and Green Line Metro stations in Prince George’s County, Maryland. About two-thirds of Centers are or will be served by the region’s existing or future rail transit network.

The goal for this latest update was to make the Centers more broadly useful. To do so, more targeted and specific criteria were used to designate than in 2007, the last time the Council of Governments approved a set of Activity Centers. The criteria are primarily based on Region Forward, COG’s vision for a more accessible, sustainable, livable, and prosperous metropolitan Washington.

The Council of Governments views Activity Centers as the next generation of metropolitan Washington’s growth and development. The office park model of development, based on low-density sprawl, is obsolete. That is why leaders in the region are working to focus future growth – which is estimated to bring over a million more people to the region in the next few decades – in mixed-use Activity Centers.

The Activity Centers map update is a necessary step in the development of an upcoming Strategic Investment Plan currently underway by COG’s Region Forward Coalition. By pointing out the specific elements (i.e., sidewalks, ground-level retail, fresh food, parks) that each Center is lacking or could improve upon, the Investment Plan will help local governments determine how best to use limited resources.

The Activity Centers Strategic Investment Plan will be released later this year and is a key component of Economy Forward, COG’s plan to prepare metropolitan Washington for a future with reduced federal spending and employment.

*Post updated to reflect the Council’s vote to approve the Activity Centers and to include additional information.

ABC 7: ‘NOMA,’ Clarendon, Silver Spring to see huge growth, study says

DCist: Regional Group Outlines 139 Activity Centers Where Growth is Expected in Future

WTOP: Planners ID neighborhoods for targeted development

WAMU: Planners: Regional Job Growth Should Focus on Activity Centers

Environment

Report highlights region’s agriculture and challenges for the future

Known as home to the federal government, major defense contractors, biotech firms, and universities, it may come as a surprise that agriculture also plays a major role in metropolitan Washington’s land use and economy.

About 28% of the region’s land area is dedicated to agriculture and the industry contributes approximately $1 billion to the metropolitan Washington economy every year. Agricultural production is also quite varied, ranging from tomatoes and potatoes to beef and beans.

Despite its size and diversity, however, the region’s agriculture is not meeting local food demands. And with more than a million people expected to move to this already rapidly-growing region in the next few decades, the situation is likely only going to get worse without significant policy changes. That’s the message behind a new Council of Governments report, What Our Region Grows.

The report, still in draft form, highlights the region’s current agricultural production as well as the gaps between current production and what’s needed to meet local demand. We’ll cover the report in more detail once it’s finalized, but the draft version – complete with charts and graphs – makes for interesting reading during the holidays.