At its heart, urban design is about creating great places. To build great places, we must consider all of the elements that make up a place — from buildings, streets and public transportation to parks, walkways and open space. Arlington’s approach to urban design covers all of these aspects by focusing on architecture, landscape architecture, planning and design.
Urban Design Guidelines and Standards
Arlington has incorporated urban design concepts into its planning efforts since the 1970s. Urban design and Smart Growth principles are integral components of our comprehensive planning process, and are incorporated within most of our area plans. Our work includes:
- Providing strategic design assistance to developers and staff during the entitlement process
- Working with planners and developers to ensure that new development meets County standards
- Compiling and updating landscape standards
- Recommending strategies to improve the urban environment and public realm
- Creating and communicating urban design concepts and guidelines
- Conducting studies to address specific planning issues
Examples of Urban Design
One example of our leading with design is using form based codes in the Columbia Pike corridor to achieve the community’s vision for vibrant, mixed-use places. Form based codes guide development and revitalization through design regulations that shape the look and feel of buildings, link the corridor with public transit and walkable streets and create public gathering places.
Another example is influencing design through historic preservation. Our Historic Preservation Master Plan allows us to integrate preservation goals and design considerations into planning initiatives in a manner that respects both our heritage and our historic built environment. We also have created detailed design guidelines for our locally protected historic sites that help owners and their design teams maintain the defining historic characteristics of their properties.