A (Radical) Way to Fix Suburban Sprawl

The traffic-jammed town surrounding one of America's biggest malls is being turned into a pedestrian-friendly community. Is this the city of the future?

David S. Holloway / Reportage / Getty for TIME; Illustration by Chris Dent for TIME

Some 120,000 people work in Tysons Corner, Va., but only 17,000 live there. To transform this hotbed of suburban gridlock into a green, walkable city, a soon-to-be-adopted plan-as envisioned by our artist-calls for as much as tripling the current square footage by expanding upward, with the tallest buildings located next to four new train stations, which should be completed by 2013.

There's something deeply wrong with Tysons Corner. For starters, Virginia's bustling commercial district — the 12th biggest employment center in the nation — has more parking spaces than jobs or residents. What was a quaint intersection of two country roads 50 years ago is now a two-tiered interchange with 10 lanes of traffic-choked hell; try to cross it on foot, and you're taking your life into your hands. Located about 14 miles west of downtown Washington, the nearly 1,700-acre area is home to fortresses of unfriendly buildings surrounded by oceans of parking lots, as well as single-story car dealerships, strip malls,...

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