For racing buffs, that’s the number retired NASCAR legend Richard Petty used on his car. For Christopher Leinberger, a Land Use Strategist and George Washington University professor, 43 means something much different. It’s the number of “walkable urban places” he has identified in the D.C. region.
If you enjoyed his book, “The Option of Urbanism,” as much as we did, you will want to check out his latest look at DC and Washington area neighborhoods that have urban qualities. Noteworthy is that in addition to walkable places found in the district and city adjacent, more and more urban areas are emerging in the suburbs. Even National Harbor, which takes it on the chin for not being built near Metro, makes the list.
Both Greater Greater Washington and Atlantic Cities have excellent pieces on his study. Emily Badger summarizes the findings the best:
In all, the Washington region now leads the nation with 43 distinct neighborhoods Leinberger has identified as “regionally significant walkable urban places” (in other words, those walkable places that also help power the metro economy as jobs centers). A mere .9 percent of the land in the entire Washington region is currently devoted to such places. But 34 percent of the region’s jobs are located there. And these places, Leinberger argues, represent the future of cities everywhere – for the coming wave of development in residential construction, in office space, in entertainment and in retail.
Leinberger created and popularized the term urban walkable places, and now introduces, “WalkUPS.” I’m not crazy about the word, but it doesn’t matter. Better than anyone else, Leinberger has his hand on the pulse of where the nation works, lives and plays. The planet needs healing, and pent-up demand for a lifestyle that does not require turning the car keys a dozen times a day is part of the cure.
In Option (2008), the D.C. based author identified 22 such areas. I that list and compared it with the new one. Below are new areas. Before you say, “Annandale?,” please note some of these are emerging and have not yet attained full status, if you will.
Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads, Capitol Hill, Capitol Riverfront, Frederick, Golden Triangle, H Street/Atlas District, Historic Fairfax City, Kentlands, Logan Circle, National Harbor, New Carrollton, Prince George’s Plaza, Seven Corners CBC, SW Federal Center, Tenleytown, Tysons Corner, U Street/Shaw, Van Ness, Virginia Square, Wheaton, White Flint, Woodley Park.