A key priority for livable space is to foster environmental sustainability. To achieve this, we need to strategically increase the amount of natural open space and improve the tree canopy, with a focus on reducing heat island intensity, improving stormwater management, and increasing urban biodiversity. Emphasize the incorporation of biophilic design elements into site plans, including private and public space, and the application of biophilic approaches to integration of the built and natural environments. Needs and opportunities abound for open space and connectivity in 22202.
Throughout the first half of 2020, neighbors gathered through a series of discussions, including a community-run workshop on February 22, 2020, to develop a comprehensive agenda on open space. The workshop brought together some 65 community members and experts to examine open space issues organized around four topics:
- Connecting residents to the natural world and enhancing biodiversity throughout 22202
- Re-envisioning Virginia Highlands Park as the backyard for the Pentagon City community
- Developing a holistic approach to planning Crystal City Parks
- Exploring the possibility for a nature trail extending from Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary through the wooded parcel along the George Washington Parkway to the southern end of Crystal City
The final report of the workshop examines the principles for holistic planning needed to strengthen connectivity, natural ecosystems, and community-building in open space in the 22202 zip code area. It provides observations and recommendations for initiating a sustained collaboration with other stakeholders invested in the success of our community, including property developers, owners, county staff, and commission members. As stated in the Livability22202 Action Plan, November 2019: “A commitment to livability means a focus on factors that promote ecological sustainability and human health and well-being.” View the final report, the Fact Sheet, and the press release.
Livability22202 continues to explore how to develop a network of green corridors and parks that will connect residents to nature and natural areas to each other. Subsequent to the workshop, we focused on imagining casual use and event space at Virginia Highlands Park, created a naming map to show the possibilities of community-centric facilities in natural areas, and began a Highlands Urban Agriculture garden (HUG) as a pilot project. Our recommendations for Crystal City parallel those resulting from the BID and JBG-sponsored Crystal City Parks community engagement. Overall, our recommendations will feed into the eventual County process for creating and upgrading open space in the 22202 area.