Tysons Corner, one of our neighboring urban areas, is on a similar path to redevelopment from an auto-centric “concrete jungle” to a walkable, green community. For now, many people are looking for short term uses of spaces throughout the region that could incorporate elements of “complete streets” and give current residents and office workers spaces to relax. Currently, places like urban parks, playing fields, and walking paths are missing in Tysons. The Meridian Group, a major developer in the area, came up with a creative solution to this problem, at least in the short term.
A pop-up “parklet”, called the Greensboro Green, now sits in a 10,000-acre parking lot. This parklet is brightly colored, attractive space with many places to sit, relax, and gather in the middle of office parks.
To make Tysons a walkable, sustainable community, more parks and playing fields are necessary. Currently, “parkland accounts for less than 5 percent of Tysons 2,100 acres,” which is a problem. So it would seem that the parklet is the first step towards “bridg[ing] the gap between the Tysons of now and the Tysons of the future,” as Lori Aratani from the Washington Post mentions. The Pike District faces a similar reality, where 161 acres of the total 430 acres of the sector are surface parking lots. Thirty-seven percent of our land is sitting empty as surface parking lots, which could be used for so many other things.
Tysons provides some great amenities that unique to the area. There are four metro stations that recently open, creating a larger variety of transit opportunities for residents and visitors to frequent the area. In addition, Tysons has the largest mall in the area, bringing all types of people to Tysons. The plan is for Tysons to have many mixed-use spaces, bringing in many restaurants, services, and other types of stores to the area.
The parklet is a great example for the Pike District. Since many of the developments in the area are slated to happen in the next 20-30 years, we could have pop-up parks that give the community fun and safe places to play and gather in the short-term.