Fighting Global Warming Through Urban Planning

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If you have a couple minutes to spare, take a look at the clip above.  Created for the Congress for New Urbanism, it’s a catchy short film linking suburban sprawl to global warming.  It frames global warming as a result of the built environment, and encourages new urbanism (i.e. walkable development with a mix of uses that is close to transit and preserves more of the natural environment) as a way to create communities that are sustainable and built to last.

The video is quite well-done, and it got me thinking: the Washington region has a strong concentration of good examples of new urbanism (the examples of good development in the film look very familiar).  Aside from the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that has become the national example of good transit-oriented mixed-use development, we’ve got great places like Bethesda and Crystal City and Silver Spring that are continuing to attract new development.  Recently, the region has seen high-quality walkable development in Shirlington and Rockville Town Square, among others.  Our region definitely has more than its share of high-quality walkable, mixed-use development than any other metropolitan area I can think of (of course, the region also has a lot of crappy suburban sprawl, too).  What do you think– is this type of development the answer to combating global warming?

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at)!

2 thoughts on “Fighting Global Warming Through Urban Planning

  1. Ahem…the District also has its share of walkable growth. How can you cite Rockville and not Columbia Heights?

  2. I chose non-DC locations because New Urbanism typically focuses on creating walkable communities in suburban/non-urban locations. I wholeheartedly agree that DC has some of the best examples of new development in the region, but since the video that grabbed my attention focused on creating new communities like this as an alternative to typical suburban sprawl, I wanted to keep the suburban theme going in the post.