Affordable Housing Plan for Columbia Pike Wins Award for Outstanding Social Commitment and Community

  • Award recognizes Arlington's ambitious goal to preserve affordable housing
  • Extensive community participation contributed to plan's success

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, the County's most ambitious long-term planning effort to preserve affordable housing, has won the 2012 Benjamin Banneker Award for Outstanding Social Commitment and Community. The prestigious regional award is presented annually by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).

“We are SO proud to receive this award on behalf of our community,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “It recognizes Arlington's commitment both to an ambitious goal of retaining and preserving affordable housing along the Pike, and to strong, transparent, inclusive civic engagement that involves residents, businesses, and County staff.”

“Phenomenal” planning, community involvement

“The award recognizes the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan as a project that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to reach beyond the traditional scope of planning, particularly advancing social objectives,” said Renée Kamen, immediate past president of the National Capital Area Chapter, American Planning Association and Co-chair of the 2012 awards program. “The planning and community involvement throughout the plan's development was phenomenal in terms of actively engaging the citizens. The commitment from the County and the community to preserve affordable housing is commendable.”

APA chapter promotes sound planning, land use practices in Metro area

The National Capital Area Chapter of the APA represents more than 700 professional planners, related professionals, planning board and commission members, elected officials, and citizen planners. National Capital is dedicated to the advancement and promotion of sound planning and land use practices in the Washington, D.C. area.


The Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan provides direction for future public and private investment decisions to match community goals of creating a walkable and bicycle-friendly main street, supporting the streetcar line planned for the Pike, and sustaining the current amount of affordable housing even as significant redevelopment occurs, allowing the corridor and its neighborhoods to continue serving a diverse population with a broad mix of incomes.

The plan seeks to find the right balance among goals of maintaining a mixed-income community with the preservation of affordable housing, improving the urban form of buildings and public space, and preserving historically significant buildings. Since the late 1990s, Arlington County has partnered with residents, community leaders, and owners of businesses and property along the Pike to plan the corridor's revitalization. Initial planning focused on improving the commercial centers.

In 2003, the County adopted the innovative Form Based Code (FBC), to encourage and guide transit-oriented development in the Pike's commercial centers. Developers who chose to conform to the FBC – which evaluates projects on the basis of a building's form, size and placement rather than its function – were offered a streamlined review process. Nine FBC projects and one site plan project have been approved on Columbia Pike since adoption of the FBC.

Learn more about revitalization efforts on Columbia Pike.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.