News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meet Your Neighbors: The Unbearable Lightness of Lake Anne

Meet Greg, a blogger whose insights are so valuable to the human condition that his URL denotes his charitable status for giving them away: Kind of like... this site. Oh, yeah. Sorry.

Anyway, greg dot org came to Reston, hoping to experience what he calls the "perfect modernist suburb." You can guess how that turned out:

Reston looks like this, freakin' shoeboxes with room for a dinette set and ceilings no taller than the 8' patio door that is the only source of light.
No disagreement here!

Fortunately, the grandeur of Middle Earth sparked this helpful rumination on all things Reston:
I've since visited Lake Anne, as the original core of Reston is known, and have learned that Hickory Cluster is actually a series of Goodman-designed townhouse neighborhoods on the other side of the ring road from the town square, which architect James Rossant designed to emulate--what else?--Portofino.

In at least one respect, he succeeded: apparently, the pedestrian-oriented center is dead in the non-summer, and businesses on the plaza can't survive. Which is one factor driving a current government/development push for "revitalization." The other most immediately obvious characteristic of Lake Anne is its Latino-ness. It's like Reston Town Center for Mexicans, and visiting it makes me realize how overwhelmingly non-Latino the RTC crowds and target demographics are.

The only larger concentration of Latino Reston/Herndon residents I'd seen was in the parking lot at KMart, which serves as a kind of impromptu zocalo con coches. Rather than providing an idealized escape from the "problems" of the "inner cities," such as density and a heterogeneous racial, cultural, and socio-economic population, Reston turns out to have [at least] two cultures and economic strata superimposed on each other, equal on the parkways, but separate on the town plazas. I wonder if anyone's asked a Mexican about the Lake Anne "revitalization," or is he the problem to be solved?

No, no -- that's Herndon's thing.


  1. are a total jerk that thinks they're really, really smart. Your smugness is so, obvious...really sad.

  2. You couldn't be any more correct in your assesment. Being a 30-year-old that was born and raised in Reston, I watched the community and surrounding areas be destroyed by extreme over population, ridiculous construction of condo and office buildings and the influx of illegal aliens. About 10 years ago I couldn't bear it any more and had to get the heck out of dodge. Now living in the Mid-West area, I have an idea of what the rest of the world calls a community... and it has nothing to do with the Reston/Herndon "plan".


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