How does White Flint’s Civic Green compare to other public spaces?

How does White Flint’s Civic Green compare to other public spaces?

Studies of White Flint Civic Green from MoCo planners.

Design studies of White Flint Civic Green by Montgomery County planners. Click to enlarge.

A few weeks ago, we looked at the White Flint Civic Green, a two-acre public square proposed near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard, and how to make it a great space. The Civic Green is one of several new or renovated public spaces proposed for White Flint, including Wall Park, which I wrote about last week.

However, it might be hard to envision what the Civic Green might look like or how it big it would be. To that end, I created this diagram showing how big the Civic Green would be in comparison to other public spaces in Greater Washington and around the country. Since the shape, design and location haven’t been finalized, I drew the green as a perfect square, then laid it on top of aerial photos of other public spaces from Google Earth. All images are the same scale to allow one-to-one comparisons.

The future White Flint Civic Green compared to other public spaces around the country. All images are the same scale.

The future White Flint Civic Green compared to other public spaces around the country. All images are the same scale.

As you can see, the Civic Green is over twice as big as other public spaces in Montgomery County, including Rockville Town Square and Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring. It’s a little smaller than Market Square in Old Town Alexandria, but only half as big as Dupont Circle in the District.

The space most comparable in size and likely programming to the Civic Green is Copley Square in Boston. Located in the bustling Back Bay neighborhood, Copley Square is one of the city’s most beloved gathering spaces, with a big lawn for picnics and recreation and a fountain that sometimes doubles as a skate park.

Like the Civic Green, which may have a community center built next to it, Copley Square is anchored by two major public institutions and architectural landmarks, the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church. It’s also lined on one side by Boylston Street, a major destination for food and shopping. This role could be filled by Pike + Rose or other developments occurring around the Civic Green, but since it’s the main square of White Flint, street-level retail or other activities be a basic requirement for any building facing it.

Are there any other good examples for the Civic Green? What is a space that you think it should emulate?

dan reed!

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Dan Reed writes about planning issues in Montgomery County and is interested in how people, especially young people, experience the urban realm. He grew up in Silver Spring and earned a double degree in Architecture and English at the University of Maryland. Dan recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master's in City Planning. Since 2006, Dan has written his own blog, Just Up the Pike, about eastern Montgomery County.

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