Land Use Planning to Activate Downtown Nightlife

The Arlington County, Virginia downtown district of Rosslyn will provide the region's latest case study of a commercial district leveraging land use regulations to activate a dormant nightlife.
July 28, 2015, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Welcome to Arlington County’s high-rise downtown," writes Patricia Sullivan, "a concrete canyon where nightlife goes to die — and where, in recent years, the commercial vacancy rate has climbed to 30 percent."

Sullivan is describing Rosslyn, where "[c]ounty officials want to remake the neighborhood into a more dynamic, walkable mix of workplaces, housing, retail and public spaces, with attractive modern buildings that they think will draw both commercial and residential tenants."

The revitalization model sought by Rosslyn is starting to look like a long tradition in the region, according to Sullivan. Arlington provided the original model, followed by Tysons Corner, the Seven Corners area in Fairfax County, and the White Flint neighborhood in North Bethesda.

Driving Rosslyn's proposed revitalization is two land use plans (the Rosslyn Sector Plan [pdf] and the Western Rosslyn Area Plan) approved recently by the Arlington County Board. According to Sullivan, who provides more detail in the article, the plans "lay the groundwork for high-rise buildings to reach higher, and for the creation of attractions to add residents and visitors who stay long past 5 p.m."

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Published on Sunday, July 26, 2015 in The Washington Post
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