Local Forecast: Snowy, with a Chance of Mixed-Use
D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood can meet a snowbound resident's daily needs. How does your neighborhood fare? Photo by Megan McConville.

D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood can meet a snowbound resident's daily needs. How does your neighborhood fare? Photo by Megan McConville.

We’re in the midst of another snowstorm here in D.C., and once again, I’m thanking my lucky stars that I live in a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. Just like last time, the roads are a mess and my car is buried under feet of snow. But I don’t have to worry about driving or stocking up on toilet paper. I can walk to the Metro if I need to get out of my neighborhood, and to a Harris Teeter grocery store or any number of corner stores when I need food or other items. There are also coffee shops, restaurants, drug stores, liquor stores and book stores within a half mile, so I have plenty of places to go if I get cabin fever. And while walking isn’t always easy in this weather, at least I’m not trapped in an isolated subdivision fearful of running out of supplies. What’s more, I get to enjoy all the social benefits of my densely built community. Shoveling becomes less of a chore and more of a chance for social interaction (badly needed when you’re snowed in for days!) as my neighbors and I chat across our walkways.

Grist had some interesting comments yesterday on how “smart growth even makes snowstorms better” – and how a blizzard can be the true test of a mixed-use development.

Now that driving is not an option, we can learn some valuable lessons about living in our D.C. neighborhoods car-free. How is your neighborhood stacking up in the snowstorm? Can you meet all your daily needs there?

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  • Martin

    We experience a lot of snow every winter but we’re lucky we had town planners in Brisbane to help us redesign the community and make it easier for us to access our basic needs when faced with natural calamities.