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Much better than the usual cheerleading for this. Some additional thoughts. Rosslyn is not only ugly, it's also pretty lifeless. And it's not alone. High rises haven't enlivened Silver Spring and the high rises stretches of Bethesda's downtown are deadzones even where there is ground floor retail. The new development in North Berthesda is very devoid of life, even with a destination grocer.

The downside of high rise office and residential structures is that they discourage people from using the surroundings as a "living room" or third place. Often these places are sold as self-contained environments with amenities that people otherwise would leave the premises to use (e.g., gyms, small businesses, party rooms). People often chose them because they are total environments and relatively anonymous. In other cities there are lively high rise areas often next door to dead ones (Chicago's N Michigan corridor and nearby Streeterville). Fortress-like highrises are likely to be the developer response to locating in East of the River areas. They have no problems building like this in supposedly safe suburbs and would happily roll over relatively unorganized neighborhoods to do it in SE.

The problem of parks NoMa is one of planning and not necessarily developers (although the political pull of developers in DC,a s well as surrounding jurisdictions is a major impediment to good development in this region, esp. where there is yet no neighborhood like this). DC should have carved out park land. The area also is very dependent on chain retail which is another minus of high rises and other large scale approaches to development---you get the same retailers, restaurants, etc. DC's liveliest corridors are places that evolved gradually over long periods of time and small business played enormous roles as renters as well as landlords.

by Rich on Nov 8, 2012 12:30 pm • linkreport

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