Thursday, December 11, 2008

Transforming Tysons

Reader m sent in this piece from NPR about Tyson's Corner's plan to turn their Edge City into more of an urban space. I've looked at these plans before and I admit I'm not entirely optimistic that the effort will be a success. I've never been there, but I've read about it for years and know similar places such as the ones referenced in the article - Costa Mesa, King of Prussia - and think it'll be really hard to convert them into desirable urban spaces. The efforts will probably lead to them being better places - more walkable, opportunities for people to live near their employer, etc... - but not awesome.

Much easier to retrofit places which were original built around streetcar and transit lines, but which either got frozen in amber development-wise 60 years ago or were somewhat paved over as car culture moved in. Plenty of places like that along the Philadelphia commuter rail system, where a few tweaks could make for much better transit oriented development/walkable communities (to be clear, there are places like that already).