Land Use & Activity Centers

Land use decisions, particularly in the region’s 141 Activity Centers, will play a key role in helping the region accommodate the 1.5 million new residents and 1.1 million jobs anticipated between 2015 and 2045. Activity Centers are the region’s priority growth areas and include existing urban centers, suburban town centers, traditional towns, and transit hubs.

While there is no single land use plan for the region, local jurisdictions have a strong track record of creating distinctive, successful mixed-use Activity Centers, from urban places like Downtown DC and Clarendon to traditional towns like Frederick and Manassas. In addition, areas like Tysons and White Flint are undergoing major transformations to become walkable, transit-oriented communities. Despite increasing support and demand for such places, balancing growth and investment with affordability and access remains a significant challenge. 

In cooperation with its Planning Directors Technical Advisory Committee, COG supports local land use planning and Activity Centers by analyzing growth, providing technical assistance, and sharing best practices for placemaking and development. And since transportation and land use are closely linked, COG Department of Community Planning and Services staff work with their COG Department of Transportation Planning counterparts to support better planning through efforts such as scenario planning and the Transportation and Land Use Coordination Program. 

COG has also partnered with ULI-Washington to fund three Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) per year in Activity Centers. Through the TAPs, local governments receive technical assistance from a multidisciplinary panel of experts focused on a particular project or location. 


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