The Kentlands: New Urbanism in the heart of suburban Maryland
MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD – Building trends are creating urban areas with the feel of a small town and the convenience of the city. The Kentlands in Gaithersburg, MD, located north of Washington, DC is one of the first “small footprint” developments that delivers the high-density services, restaurants and entertainment many new home buyers are looking for. In The Kentlands, this “new town” concept started development 30 years ago with the first residents moving in 1991.
This development has been one of the most successful projects of the so-called “New Urbanism” movement.
New Urbanism growth in the Washington Metro Area
The Kentlands is built along the 270 corridor that travels north, branching off the Washington 495 Beltway. New Urbanism is a movement in opposition of the car depending urban movements of the last half of the 20th Century. It brings back the concept of walkable streets and mixed-used buildings. Nothing new about people living above a business in a downtown area as implemented here. The development features residential areas within walking distance.
These areas include single-family detached, town homes and apartments.
The Kentlands is complemented with artificial lakes and hiking/jogging trails, cultural and artistic buildings, shopping and restaurants. In some areas, the concept of an old town is verified with “mews” (back alleys) where the entrance to garages are located.
This allows for the facades to take center stage without the blank expanse of the garage door.
Small footprint, big service
The North Western part of The Kentlands turns 21st Century. Several “box” stores, strip mall merchants, restaurants and grocery store make the more public part of the development. This area is a destination for other Upper Montgomery County residents as well as home shops for the city’s residents.
In the “downtown” part, there are several ethnic and traditional sit-down restaurants as well as movie theaters, craft shops and professional services. Seems that all needs for a traditional community are thought of.
Downtown quality amenities in the Kentlands.
Culturally the city offers “The Arts Barn” with theater presentation, arts exhibits and artisans’ shops. The old mansion, where the Kent family lived, has been preserved and serves as a hub for activities including art shows, events and recreation for all ages. These activities are integrated into the City of Gaithersburg amenities.
The convenient urban location offers much more
The city is located eight miles from the Washington Metro system at the Shady Grove Station, about 30 minutes away. The area boasts access to both Reagan National and Dulles airports. Close at hand is the cultural hub that is Washington, DC. It is five miles from branches of both the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and about the same distance from Montgomery College, Germantown campus.
It is only three miles from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (the old Bureau of Standards) a US Federal agency. So, short of having a million-dollar pad in a safe area of DC or an equally expensive abode in a closer suburb, you are well located.
Old Town Gaithersburg offers new charms
The nearby old Gaithersburg offers many ethnic restaurants. Gaithersburg was ranked as the most ethnically diverse city in the US in 2016 by WalletHub. It also has many other services like car dealerships, car mechanic shops, construction equipment rentals and just about any service or product that a normal homeowner may need.
So, what do you get?
- Sustainable walkable downtown to shop, eat and live;
- Attractive residential areas with lakes, paths, and cultural attractions;
- Easy access to public transportation and the world with Washington Metro;
- Shopping the new way (box stores) and the old way;
- Branches of nationally known universities and a two-year college;
- Cultural Washington, DC using Washington Metro;
- Nearby ethnically diverse Gaithersburg;
- Upper Montgomery County arts and artisan.
The bad news, it is not cheap. But if you want a rich life in a sustainable city, The Kentlands offers that and more.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, continues learning about urban planning and enjoys it. He is in Twitter (@chibchaurs), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).