Region Forward Blog

Place + Opportunity: Strategies for Creating Great Communities and a Stronger Region

Jan 8, 2014
Columbai Heights


Today the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors approved Place Opportunity a report that presents a regional framework to understand common challenges and opportunities among Activity Centers in our region. Examining a cross section of the region’s 141 Activity Centers the Place Opportunity Project Team conducted detailed analysis of each Center’s market urban form and socioeconomic characteristics to identify six common Activity Center ‘place types’ and four ‘opportunity types.’

Together the six place types and four opportunity types are a starting point to help local communities make informed decisions for their Centers and navigate potential actions and investments. For each place and opportunity type the report provides a set of development goals strategies and tools to help inform place-making decisions complement local planning and development efforts and help communities meet their aspirations for their Activity Centers.

Catalytic Investment

The following video created by COG and Mobility Lab depicts three examples of prosperous Activity Centers that can be aspirational examples to similar communities throughout the region. First the City of Manassas Virginia invested in the accessibility and aesthetics of its downtown which helped reinvigorate a vibrant restaurant scene that helps the city enhance the small town lifestyle its residents prefer. Second the NoMa neighborhood in Washington DC invested in an infill Metrorail station that transformed an underused industrial area into a top office and residential market that has attracted $4 billion dollars of private investment in less than a decade with an equal amount of investment expected in the foreseeable future. Finally Twinbrook Station in Montgomery County Maryland is a mixed use development constructed on former parking lots near an existing Metrorail station that will enable thousands of people to live work and shop car free.


Click here to view another video by COG and Mobility Lab highlighting Activity Centers as livable places


Each of these communities developed a well-defined vision which they advanced through targeted investments. Place Opportunity is designed to help communities in our region more easily identify the investments best suited to their needs.

The Place Opportunity Project Team included local and national planning groups—RCLCO Reconnecting America Urban Imprint and Mobility Lab. We invite you to read the report here and help make your community and our region more prosperous.


Media Coverage of Place Opportunity

NBC 4 Viewpoint

WAMU How Land is Used Locally Can Help Address Transportation Challenges

WJLA “Game Plan” for Region’s NewDevelopment

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