Are cul-de-sacs killing the planet? That's what this video from filmmaker John Paget says. Anyone who lives in East County, especially in the cul-de-sac-laced subdivisions along Route 29, appreciates the difficulty of getting around when none of our streets connect to each other.
I think "New Urbanism" has become a dirty word - if only because so-called "New Urban" projects like the Downtown Silver Spring redevelopment really just piggyback on the existing urbanism that Silver Spring has (i.e., gridded streets, public transportation, density of homes/shops/offices, ease in walking around.) But it's in fact true that Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods - East Silver Spring, the Woodsides - have a smaller carbon footprint than their counterparts in White Oak, Fairland or Burtonsville because you can do more without a car, and you can do more without a car because the streets actually connect to each other.
Keep an eye out for drawings/photos of real-life projects in this area, including King Farm and Rockville Town Square, both in Rockville, and the redevelopment of the area around Columbia Heights Metro in the District.
[Thanks to Mike Lydon at Planetizen for the heads-up.]