It’s been 25 years since development started at Gaithersburg’s Kentlands, America’s first year-round new urbanist community. With a quarter century of experience under our belts, not to mention a major shift in American development patterns, what have we learned?

kentlands Kentlands residents can walk to a variety of businesses on Main Street. (Amy Reinink for the Washington Post).

When new urbanism hit the big time in the late ’80s and early ’90s, central cities were still declining, and suburbs were still focused around enclosed shopping malls. Generations of Americans had grown up driving around the suburbs, thinking of urban places as crime-ridden ghettos.

New urbanism changed all that. Wherever a new urbanist neighborhood opened, a nice-looking and safe walkable urban place suddenly became accessible to the suburban masses, many of whom had never had one before.

New urbanism reintroduced Americans to the concept of urban living. And as recent history tells us, once we learned urban living was an option, people flocked to it.

[Continue reading Dan Malouff’s post at BeyondDC.]

Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.