Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gunbelt in DC...

I mentioned recently the book The Rise of the Gunbelt: The Military Remapping of Industrial America, published in 1991, in the context of economic comparisons of Montgomery County, Maryland to Fairfax County, Virginia, in the blog entry, "Montgomery County's real economic development problem: it's not part of the military economy."

While both counties are dependent on the federal government for their economic success, I credited the greater proportion of military-related economic activity in Fairfax County as a reason for the difference between the two. In fact, Virginia is heavily dependent on military spending, and if the U.S. does in fact reduce military spending, this could have a disproportionate impact across the State of Virginia, from military installations across the state, to the contractors clustered in Northern Virginia.

Interestingly, DC is staking the future of the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital east campus, around the "innovation economy" surrounding "homeland security."

See "St. Elizabeths: Deal close for Microsoft innovation center at St. E`s" from the Washington Business Journal and this presentation from the DC Deputy Mayor's Office for Planning and Economic Development, SAINT ELIZABETHS REDEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE: “The Chesapeake Crescent Region: The Emerging National Leader in Security Innovation”.

Slide from presentation about the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths East Campus, Washington DC

The WBJ article mentions that Microsoft may open a research center at the campus, and the city is trying to get General Dynamics to locate some of its functions there as well. Another recent WBJ article, "Northrop Grumman looked close at St. Elizabeths," mentioned a previous proposal to give the campus to Northrup-Grumman, when they were planning their headquarters move from California to the DC region.

I suppose when the most consistent source of federal spending, other than on social security and medicare, is the military, it makes sense for DC to try to get in on the action. But, it's still somewhat troubling.

Also see these past blog entries:

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