Georgetown – A Model for Success

A successful urban planning project integrates opportunities for being active and social with easily accessible public transportation options.  The benefits of master-planned hubs include preservation of the surrounding land and resources, lessening environmental footprints by eliminating the need for polluting vehicles and providing the opportunity for strong economic growth.  With the recently passed SPI-9 zoning, Buckhead Village is taking steps to achieve this kind of development.

This post on the Public Servant Blog details the top 20 urban planning projects of all time, including the historic Lower Garden District in New Orleans; Eugene, Ore., and Sanibel Island, Fla.  However, I believe the 35-block GBID (Georgetown Business Improvement District) also deserves added visibility as a model for successful urban planning. The GBID boasts several components that contribute to its success, and the Buckhead Village rezoning will allow us to model this success.

  • Georgetown Metro Connection – all successful urban projects provide access to reliable, affordable public transportation.  After integrating transit systems and revamping its fare system, Georgetown Metro Connection saw ridership rates increase 50 percent.  The master transportation plan aims to extend services to link business and entertainment centers, providing more pedestrian traffic and economic development.
  • City Partnerships – GBID has worked in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation to improve transportation options, Metropolitan Police Department to implement a Crime Text Alert program and Public Safety Roundtables, and the Urban Forestry Administration to design a pruning and planting routine.  These partnerships help GBID shape policy and better respond to visitor and resident needs. 
  • Marketing – GBID has positioned itself as a shopping and entertainment hub.  Visitors and residents alike participate in frequent food and craft festivals.  Plus, streetscape enhancements, including planted baskets and lampposts, make the area an attractive place to live, work and visit.

GBID’s success also is in large part due to its focus on measurable development goals and a healthy organizational structure.  It takes a big-picture approach, seeking ways to continually strengthen not only Georgetown, but also Washington D.C. and the region.  We’ll be closely watching this approach as we implement plans to create a more walkable, livable Buckhead that’s attractive to businesses and residents alike.

Are there other urban planning models you’d like to recommend?

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