The 2015/2016 ULI Washington Regional Land Use Leadership Institute (Leadership Institute) kicked off its first program day on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at the Waterview Conference Center in Rosslyn, Virginia. The focus of the day, Region in Context, is intended to set the stage for remaining program days that will occur over a nine-month period, and will focus on a variety of land use issues and hosted throughout our Metropolitan Washington Region.
The day began with an activity titled “How We Roll – Regional Travel Patterns” where participants use push pins in a regional map to identify where they work, live, and play. This map showed that this is a pretty geographically diverse cohort that works throughout the region. Not surprisingly, most of the pins were located within the District of Columbia, and the fewest amount of pins were located within Prince George’s and Charles counties. This activity led into a panel to talk about what works and what doesn’t work within our region. The panel featured the Honorable Mary Hynes, Arlington County Board, Robert Sweeny, Kogod School of Business at American University, Jordan Goldstein, Gensler, and Stewart Schwartz, the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
Next, Robert McCartney, a journalist with the Washington Post, talked about his experience of covering the region. He highlighted that many of the regional success stories like the building of the Metro system haven’t translated into a true regional strategy. There is a lot of potential for the region, but it is difficult to tap into this potential. Much of this has to do with the fact that the Metropolitan Washington region is made up of multiple jurisdictions, two states, and one Federal district plus the Federal government. Regional issues such as economic development, affordable housing, inequality, and Metro are issues that need to be addressed.
In both the panel and Robert McCartney’s talk the issue of branding came up again and again. The United States views Washington as a place of Congressional dysfunction and traffic congestion. The rest of the world views Washington as the capital of the world’s largest military and superpower.
Following lunch and a scavenger hunt, the class participated in a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments led group activity to think about the future of the region, and the challenges and opportunities for growth. By 2040, the region is expected to grow by 1.3 million new residents and 1.1 million new jobs. To address these added growth participants created and improved existing transportation networks but this of course has a cost. Transportation plans by the class ranged from just over $18 billion to over $25 billion to meet this expected growth.
Next month, the class will continue the discussion about our infrastructure and transportation network at the Alexandria Renew Treatment Plant. Click here to learn more about the Leadership Institute.