In 1982, Neil Peart wrote Subdivisions, one of the band’s most popular songs. One particular line resonates with many of their fans.
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth
Thirty years later, the way we think about our built communities is changing. "Greater Greater Washington," a site covering these types of issues, has written eloquently on this aspect of our lives.
Last month Dan Reed wrote about faulty comparisons between the suburbs and the city.
Doig falls prey to the same mistake a lot of writers make on urban issues. For starters, he presents "city" and "suburb" as mutually exclusive entities with no middle ground… This false dichotomy doesn't allow a middle ground…
The "city versus suburbs" slant is tired and inaccurate. It's time we got rid of it and instead focused on whether we're creating good places, no matter what side of Eastern Avenue or the Potomac River they're on.
The newest mixed-use development in the Washington area is the “Mosaic District.” Located in Merrifield, about a half-mile south of the Dunn-Loring Metro station, the 36-acre site features four districts, fashion/retail, market, film/fine dining and residential. We paid a visit Saturday morning and found it a pleasant experience.
Many of the doors are yet to swing open, but already attracting moviegoers is the “Angelika Film Center and Café.” It’s a standout property with lots of glass and features independent films. For years we wondered why Northern Virginia did not have a cinematic counterpart to E Street and Bethesda. Now, they can be very proud of having what is arguably the best theater experience in the region.
Across the street, Target is open. Lots of glass there too. Tucked away in a corner spot is Mom’s Organic Grocery Store, which offers a pleasant food shopping experience. Nieman Marcus looked open too. Soon to come are Anthropologie, South Moon Under, and restaurants including Matchbook and Taylor Gourmet.
Of all the places in the works, perhaps R.J. Cooper’s new restaurant “Gypsy Soul” will create the most excitement. Cooper describes it as,
It's going to be an interactive take on farm-to-table, with a lot of visuals, feelings and smells. None of that tired "hipster farmhouse" ----.
The issue is where are walkable urban places being built, and they are being built in both central cities and the suburbs surrounding them… In the metro area with the most walkable urban places, the Washington region, 70 percent of the walkable urban places were in the suburbs.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone in speaking the old language of city-suburbs, but I welcome and hope to embrace this new lens. I just wonder if Peart will pen a “Camera Eye, Part Two...”