An official website of Arlington County government

Planning in Arlington

Within the first thirty years of the 20th century, the citizens of Arlington County recognized a need to encourage the orderly development of this community. Initial planning efforts from 1927 to 1937 focused on directing post World War I growth in ways that preserved the needs and values of County residents, while still embracing the dynamic development potential of the area.

Today, this planning tradition of managing growth so as to safeguard the most important and memorable features of Arlington County’s landscape continues, despite the profound changes resulting and the opportunities the County has leveraged from the construction of Metrorail in Arlington. Enhancing the vibrancy and overall livability of transit oriented areas near Metrorail Stations, while sustaining the quiet, residential character of the County’s residential neighborhoods has remained a top priority since the late 1970s, when the Orange Line Metro from Rosslyn to Ballston and Blue Line Metro from Rosslyn to Washington National Airport began operating.

Aerial view of Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor from the east, depicting transit-oriented development areas edged by residential neighborhoods

Planning for transit oriented development in harmony with an overarching theme of Smart Growth has allowed Arlington County to successfully become a major employment center, even as property taxes remain competitive for the Washington DC region and sustainable transportation options support both human and natural environments. By concentrating and promoting mixed-use, high density residential, commercial, and office development in limited areas near Metrorail Stations, long term visioning and planning for the County has resulted in a community which extends diverse residential, recreational, educational, health, shopping, and employment opportunities to all residents.