walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Tyson's Corner

_Cities and Suburbs_ is a highly problematic book. At least the kindle version is surprisingly poorly edited; it has grammar problems that I ordinarily associate with an early draft (the kind where you can tell they thought about writing a sentence one way, changed it, but the result was sort of a mishmash). I don't disagree with the thesis (this is a historic overview of metropolitan areas and a description of polycentric urban forms) or theses, but I'm sort of wishing for more depth. Also, there's some histrionic bits that while I don't disagree with them feel did their political points a disservice.

Part of the problem is I _really_ want to love this book, and I'm having a lot of reservations. If the book weren't basically saying a whole bunch of stuff I'd tentatively been thinking of already, I'd probably be much harsher.

In the section that summarizes Garreau's Edge Cities, the authors describe Tyson's Corner in Virginia. The book was published in 2009 and presumably was written at some point prior to that. After describing the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' 40 year plan to urbanize Tysons Corner and the projected 2013 arrival of the Silver Line, this confusing bit happens:

"William D. Lecos, president of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, claimed that, "Tysons Corner is the world's most successful office park. What we want is a downtown." In contrast, Stewart Schwartz, executive direction of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, asserted that, "we support more density in Tysons Corner and more homes in Tysons Corner, because that is the only way we can create a walkable, transit-friendly community." Without a doubt, these are two views that Fairfax County's politicians, planners, developers, and residents need to weigh as the jurisdiction moves forward in its quest to reengineer Tysons Corner."

_WHAT_ contrast? _WHAT_ two views? All the indications in the text (and, it turns out, in reality) are that Tysons Corner has a degree of consensus about what it needs and what it is about to get that is stunning in its totality. _EVERYONE_ wants residential near the malls and office parks and that's about the only development that can be financed currently anyway. The only real debate in play is whether any of the developers can put together the financing for high rise residential towers, or whether the landowners are going to have to cope with the more moderate fortune associated with putting up midrises. Given that existing development in the area is pulling down at most a couple thousand a month for a two bedroom (you can even find 3 bedroom units within 3 miles, and for not that much more), I'm thinking it's going to be a bunch of midrise, but you never know once the Silver Line comes in -- I guess we'll all find out how many people like living next door to a mall.

Tyson's Corner also looks like a really good example of how easy it is to get along when there's money awash in a community.
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