Our Fall issue of Urban Land is always special; it’s the biggest magazine of the year, and it always takes a deep look at the city hosting the Institute’s biggest annual event—the Fall Meeting. As this year’s meeting is in Washington, D.C.—the site of ULI’s global headquarters—this issue affords us the chance to show off some of the best places in our home city.
Washington tends to suffer in terms of public relations. Year in and year out, regardless of the political climate, politicians who are desperate to get here campaign for office by criticizing the capital as a place of scoundrels and backstabbers. Certainly, Washington is not without either of them. What gets lost in the discussion, though, is the city itself—a place beyond politics that routinely attracts newcomers eager to immerse themselves in a youthful, multicultural urban scene so energetic that its homegrown music is called go-go. Washington is a modern city planned on an old European model in 1791 by French engineer/architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant, whom you may blame for the city’s notorious traffic circles created at the intersection of the city’s tree-lined grand avenues. Washington also is a wired, tech-infused metropolitan area that recently lured Amazon to create its second headquarters just over the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia. A profile of plans for Amazon’s HQ2 begins on page 140.
Beginning on page 138, our Meeting City Focus package offers highlights of the metropolitan Washington area, including spectacular mixed-use developments along Washington’s Potomac and Anacostia rivers. And there is an examination of Reston Town Center, about 20 miles (32 km) away in the Virginia suburbs. Experts who have spent the past three decades creating this new downtown discuss the elements that have allowed it to evolve as a true city—and the pitfalls they avoided. “Reston Town Center” begins on page 164.
Our cover package focuses on master-planned communities. Beginning on page 114, Kevin Brass dishes the dirt on agrihoods—master-planned communities that incorporate agriculture as their focal point. Farmers are well aware that growing crops is no easy endeavor. Developers of these highly popular communities are learning that, too. And, beginning on page 120, Patricia Montemurri explores new communities built for the active age 55-and-over market, along with the trends fundamental to this business model. The lifestyles are as varied as the population they are designed to accommodate; there is even a community in California affiliated with a Zen center.
Also in this issue, we are proud to present the winners of the 2019-2020 ULI Global Awards for Excellence. Eleven outstanding projects were selected from across the United States, Asia Pacific region, and Europe. Their profiles begin on page 185.
Watch your mailboxes in early November for a bonus issue of Urban Land devoted to real estate and technology. See you in our hometown—Washington, D.C.—September 18–21!