Board of Supervisors Endorses the Tysons Corner Urban Design Guidelines

Jan. 24, 2012


  • New urban design guidelines provide principles on how Tysons should look and feel.
  • Guidelines do not dictate urban design and architectural standards, but instead recognize flexibility is necessary.
  • Guidelines were created in collaboration with private landowners, architects, landscape architects and urban planners.

At its January 24 meeting, the Board of Supervisors endorsed the Tysons Corner Urban Design Guidelines.

Tysons Urban Design Guidelines

While the land use plan for the area sets out the vision for Tysons as a walkable, green, urban center, these guidelines give specific recommendations on how to achieve this goal through urban design. The new guidelines offer principles for the design of streets, sidewalks, street lighting, signage, parks and buildings.

These guidelines do not dictate urban design and architectural standards. Instead, they provide principles to guide how Tysons should look and feel in the future. These principles encourage creative, sustainable, pedestrian friendly design and they call for a distinct character in each of the eight districts in Tysons.

The guidelines recognize that a wide variety of conditions exist in Tysons and flexibility is necessary, so long as the outcome furthers the implementation of the vision set forth in the land use plan.

County staff developed the guidelines in collaboration with an outside advisory group of nine urban planners, landscape architects, architects and developers who volunteered their time and expertise over the last year. In addition, the Tysons Partnership, a private group of landowners, community members and others, was actively involved in reviewing the guidelines. Public input also was received from the general public and community and interest groups.

Among other recommendations, the guidelines call for:

  • Creating a grid of streets that results in smaller blocks that allow people to walk easily, comfortably and safely within Tysons.
  • Locating the tallest buildings next to major roads and Metro stations, as well as encouraging a variety building heights. The tallest buildings should be for signature buildings in an area.
  • Using varied and creative building facades to create an interesting, vibrant streetscape.
  • Incorporating environmentally sustainable features into buildings, such as green roofs, rainwater collection systems, bird friendly design, and materials that reduce the heat-island effect.
  • Locating parking  on-street or within  parking structures.
  • Connecting Tysons with pleasant, continuous tree-lined sidewalks, trails or paths, so people can travel by foot instead of by car.
  • Establishing urban parks  where residents can enjoy passive and active recreation.
  • Offering regularly spaced street trees, public seating,  bicycle racks,  street lights and other streetscape amenities.

The guidelines can be found on the Tysons Web pages. For more information about the guidelines, contact the Office of Community Revitalization at 703-324-9300, TTY 711.


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