Urbanism and Perception
Revisiting and appreciating an ordinary place
Much of Arlington, Virginia is incredibly wealthy, and many of its solid but humble old homes are worth close to—or more than—$1 million. In this respect, it’s an outlier in America, a place whose job mix and average incomes are far outside of the average person’s experience.
But in another way, Arlington is ordinary, even old-fashioned. Now there is a high-density transit corridor, following the Metro stations into downtown Washington, D.C., along which low-rise suburban sprawl has rapidly turned into something like a real urban environment. I took a look at some of that in previous posts, here and here.
But much of Arlington looks quite a bit like it would have looked in the 1950s, or even earlier. The area was suburbanized even by the 1930s—it has stately old houses, garden apartments, small apartment buildings, and some more modern townhomes. It has lots of strip malls, but very early ones that have slanted parking out front and retain many of the features of actual urban blocks.