Tyson's Corner Sprawl "Real Urban Experience?" -- Suburban Soul -- Washington Post
Steven Pearlstein from the Washington Post lauds Tysons Corner for its suburb grit in his article "Suburban Soul: Reston Is Hot Property, but Tysons Hums With 'Messy Vitality.'" While I would tend to agree that the best places evolve over time, creating that "messy vitality," I think Pearlstein is missing the mark here trying to apply that philosophy to sprawl. Reston will evolve over time, becoming more messy -- and more valuable. But I think without urban retrofit, Tysons will just continue to get plain messy.
Follow this link to the original article and highlights follow.
"[...] Reston Town Center was commanding rents and condo prices equal to, or even exceeding, those at Tysons. In terms of planning, it looked like a victory for place-making over sprawl, of tight zoning and master-planning over property rights and crass commercialism."
Which zoning is really tighter? What do property rights have to do with it?
"Sure, Tysons is one traffic jam after another -- but when was the last time you tried to get across Midtown Manhattan?"
About a month ago. It was pretty easy on foot.
"Like people in Chicago, people in Tysons don't amble or poke along -- they've got things to do."
I am from Chicago, and I have to say, though I often have things to do, when I don't, I do enjoy ambling and poking along in my neighborhood or in the park. And I imagine it would be very difficult to do the things I have to do in Tysons without a car.
"By those criteria, Tysons will never become a city in the way we think of Baltimore or Boston, even with a subway line running through it. To think otherwise is fantasy."
Of course it won't, but that's just a poor and unfair comparison since its a suburb and not the main event. I don't think it's fantasy though to think that one day, with a lot of care, it could become a vibrant suburban city. DC can't keep up with the demand for urban housing, and I'm sure many people would be happy to be able to find urban housing outside the city. I'm looking forward to watching how Tysons will begin its urban evolution -- http://www.tysonsfuture.com .
Write your comments in the box below and share on your Facebook!