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The Making of Reston and Columbia towns

Summary:
Emily Wavering Corcoran writes an interesting piece on how towns of Reston and Columbia were developed in the 1960s  with similar visions for inclusive, connected communities. Reston and Columbia illustrate the economic complexities that exist within a large-scale planned community, and they share some commonalities that may have contributed to their relative success. These include the early establishment of core values, innovative zoning, and prioritization of profitability. Simon and Rouse’s clear and public core values defined standards by which all design and business decisions could be assessed and simultaneously attracted like-minded residents who helped make those values a deep-rooted part of the community culture. Reston and Columbia were pioneers in mixed-use zoning; today,

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Emily Wavering Corcoran writes an interesting piece on how towns of Reston and Columbia were developed in the 1960s  with similar visions for inclusive, connected communities.

Reston and Columbia illustrate the economic complexities that exist within a large-scale planned community, and they share some commonalities that may have contributed to their relative success. These include the early establishment of core values, innovative zoning, and prioritization of profitability. Simon and Rouse’s clear and public core values defined standards by which all design and business decisions could be assessed and simultaneously attracted like-minded residents who helped make those values a deep-rooted part of the community culture.

Reston and Columbia were pioneers in mixed-use zoning; today, mixed-use zoning and transit-oriented development are priorities for many localities across the United States, particularly those seeking to increase density and provide accessible amenities. The examples set by Reston and Columbia — including their more recent and ongoing conversations about transit design and the appropriate mix of residential and commercial development — have helped inform the development of mixed-use zoning nationally.

Finally, Reston and Columbia indicate the importance of the “mix” in mixed-use development — Goudie in Reston and David Stebenne in Columbia both note that commercial development provided critical income to help maintain economic viability. Even with the changes that Reston and Columbia have seen over the decades, it seems clear that their conversations about community, diversity, quality of life, and economic viability may never be over — they will simply evolve.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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