Urbanized Suburbia: How to Strike a Balance

All over the globe, rural and suburban areas are becoming more urbanized. One such place is Montgomery County, Maryland. At a recent UN-Habitat forum for global leaders, held at the United Nations, Future Cities met with Ike Leggett, County Executive for Montgomery County, to discuss how his county is managing its own urbanization, and how to strike a balance between urban and rural lifestyles.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:50 EST | 6
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8/30/2014 7:20:20 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Choice of two greats
A night time economy seems like a great idea for such situations. As the surburban areas become more like the city, novel and innovative ideas must be brought to the fore to enable growth but keep convenience and life style living to the liking of the residents and businesses.

4/29/2014 11:43:15 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Choice of two greats
It's is a challenge to find the balance, and decide what incentives to provide for the transistion zones from rural to urban. It would hopefully provide some plans to address the transportation infrastructure to handle the changes as well.

2/26/2014 9:24:51 AM
User Rank Blogger
Interesting point. These areas in the commuter belt as we say in the UK (and probably US) are vital to greening our districts. They are often Auto centric and with unlegible amenities and unpredictable public transport. In my view anything that highlights the opportunities for improvement here is a good thing.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
2/2/2014 11:02:28 PM
User Rank Blogger
Not quite urban, not quite suburbs
Montgomery County is many things, but urbanized suburbs? Are we calling densely populated areas "urban" now? Certainly no one will mistake Bethesda and Silver Spring for Tokyo or Bangkok (apart from the wickedly good sushi and pad thai to be found in MoCo); they're not quite bedroom communities to DC anymore, but these cities/towns aren't full-bore urban centers either.

Can we just call get back to calling these areas exurbs and move on?

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/31/2014 2:56:06 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Choice of two greats
I hadn't really thought about it that way before, but it's a great point.

It does seem like a difficult balance to strike, to urbanize a typically suburban community. I like the direction Montgomery County is taking, with its digital efforts, its TOD projects, and also its move to a "nighttime economy," as Alan Reiter has written about here. Those efforts are quite progressive, and it's clear that support of urbanization is coming from the top, and that's key.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/28/2014 12:47:59 PM
User Rank Staff
Choice of two greats
Ike Leggett makes a really important point here, that some of the toughest urban challenges come from having to pick between two favorable routes, instead of between two oppositional choices.

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