As Pearlstein writes in The Washington Post its not just anti-sprawl activists and smart-growth planners who are trumpeting the call towards infill development, most developers he's spoken to agree.
Pearlstein sees a correlation between the abandonment of the traditional enclosed shopping mall and suburban office park, both representing major shifts in the economics of housing and commercial development. Demographic shifts, changing tastes and the damage wrought by the economic downturn will mean continued bad news for the outer suburbs and exurbs. Whereas, the market has remained strong and will continue to grow in the District and its inner suburbs.
"There are natural limits to how much a metropolitan region can expand its economy and its population by expanding its geographic footprint, and Washington is probably getting pretty close to them. The evidence can be found in the horrible commutes, in the divergent trends in land values at the core and at the periphery, and in the extraordinary cost of extending Metrorail to Loudoun County."
To successfully accommodate these shifts will take good, determined planning and "political and business leadership to accommodate, accelerate and manage that process."