How D.C. densified

DC’s relative success can be traced to a few decisions made decades ago. In the 1970s, policymakers in Arlington County made a decision to adopt what’s known as ‘transit-oriented development planning’ ahead of the opening of DC’s Metro Orange Line, which runs between Arlington and Prince George County, Maryland (via DC). Arlington policymakers identified that zoning for apartment construction in commercial areas could bring in property taxes and help balance the budget without the level of controversy of changing zoning in existing residential areas. Some nearby jurisdictions followed suit, learning from Arlington’s example, helping the DC region stay more affordable than the country’s other superstar cities.

Here is the full essay by Emily Hamilton of Mercatus, serving up a very good short economic history of Arlington.  And this on the District:

The District itself has permitted extensive redevelopment of formerly industrial neighborhoods when they received new Metro stations, including Navy Yard and NoMA. In the years since the 2010 financial crisis, DC has permitted thousands of apartments each year, a high rate compared to peer cities. As in Arlington, they’ve primarily been permitted on land that previously housed industrial or low-value commercial development where there are few or no existing residents to oppose new construction.

Interesting throughout.  I am pleased to live in the land of partial YIMBY.

That is all from the new and excellent issue of Works in Progress.



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