Crystal/Pentagon City- Arlington’s best New Urbanist Center

Arlington’s Pentagon City and Crystal City is a great example of how to built a relatively urban environment in the auto age. This is a rare American example where cars, pedestrians, public transit and bike modes are relatively. I can’t say I love the design and set back of the original buildings built in Crystal/Pentagon City in the 70s & 80s but their multi-model design was certainly ahead of its time. More recent in-fill developers have been much better from an architecture and urban design standpoint. The neighborhood is also a great example of how park and recreation space can be better integrated into the urban fabric when urban planners are given a clean slate.

Already Crystal/Pentagon City is a quality jobs hub with around 35-50K jobs. Amazon will bring over 25K jobs to Crystal in the next decade. The main areas to improve from an urban perspective is making Crystal/Pentagon City more family friendly. To achieve this more walkable schools are needed along with affordable 3-bedroom condos & townhouses. I fully anticipate future in-fill will continue to be built with quality urban design helping solidify Crystal/Pentagon City as a quality mixed-use district in Arlington. 
Click to view my Pentagon City and Crystal City albums on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Many quality examples of modern in-fill. The design of in-fill buildings are better since 2000 but even the older stuff from the 70s & 80s has decent urban design.
* Consistent quality sidewalk and ADA infrastructure network. Sometimes sidewalks are uncomfortable due to high traffic boulevards.
* While there are probably around 50K jobs in Crystal/Pentagon City, it also has very convenient access to Downtown DC and other Arlington Nodes.
* Great public transit access and bike infrastructure including many dedicated bike lanes and good bike share access.
* Good racial diversity.
* Lots of rental options but generally pretty expensive. Studios and 1-bedrooms rent in the $1,000s, 2-bedrooms in the 2Ks & 3Ks, and 3-bedrooms in the $2,000s-$4,000s. Fortunately there is some affordable housing options here.
* Great array of parks and amenities well dispersed throughout Crystal/Arlington City.
* Cultural amenities include a great array of restaurants, bars & cafes, two performing arts theaters, a couple local museums, many art galleries, and an upscale movie theater.
* With at least 4 shopping malls, several department stores, countless brand name stores, several grocery stores, neighborhood retail, and a good about of boutiques and creative stores, its hard to get better retail amenities than here.
* Very safe neighborhood with really no blight (partially due to age of development). 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* No historic architecture in Crystal/Pentagon City.
* Connecting is decent but rather confusing with the city’s curvilinear street grid.
* Generally very high incomes but some economic diversity more so in Crystal City.
* Age wise the neighborhood skews towards the young professional but about 35-40% family households here.
* For sale condos are kind of limited and expensive. 1-bedrooms general sell in the 300Ks and 400Ks, 2-bedrooms 500Ks & 600Ks, and 3-bedrooms 700Ks-1 Million.
* No schools within the Crystal/Pentagon neighborhood boundaries, some elementary and middle schools about 1 mile away. 

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