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Tysons Park Planning

Urban Park
Urban Park
Urban Park
Urban Park

Great Cities have Great Parks! Major cities across the nation and world recognize the valuable benefits parks provide. In some cities, like New York, Chicago and London, parks are defining features. Parks promote increased physical activity and mental wellbeing, provide venues for community building, enhance tourism and boost the local economy, positively impact real estate values, support ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, reduce air pollutants, provide stormwater management, and contribute to cooling effects in urban areas.  The list of park benefits goes on and on.

As Tysons transforms from a suburban commercial center to a major regional urban center, a connected network of urban parks will help to distinguish Tysons as a great urban area and bring benefits to the local economy and quality of life. To help ensure that happens, the Park Authority is developing a comprehensive park system concept plan for Tysons that will complement and refine the existing Tysons Urban Center Plan in the County Comprehensive Plan.

The Tysons Park System Concept Plan will guide future park development by the public, private and non-profit sectors to serve Tysons’ residents, employees and visitors well into the future. This plan is also intended to stimulate public discussion and participation to ensure it maximizes the intended individual, social and economic benefits as the future park system evolves.



The Tysons Urban Center Plan contains some of the most robust park planning guidance in the Comprehensive Plan. In Follow-on Motion #16 to adoption of the Tysons Plan, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to further define needs and locations of “…existing and planned public facilities, including parks and athletic fields…”

Refinements to the Tysons park system plan are needed to add more detail and ensure the right park types are planned in the right locations. Refinements will help set expectations for the future park system, allow for more effective review of redevelopment proposals, and promote collaborative efforts between the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The Tysons Park System Concept Plan knits together the guidance provided in the Comprehensive Plan (both the conceptual map and Plan text) and the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines, is informed by the many approved and pending rezoning development proposals in Tysons, and is shaped by guidance provided by the Tysons Park Plan Advisory Group and other key stakeholder input.

Park Planning Guide


The park planning process focuses on seven key elements of the park system:

Seven Elements of the Tysons Park System Plan
Place parks in the right locations. A successful Tysons park system must ensure public access to a variety of park types located in the right places to meet the demands of expected population and employment growth. High quality urban parks will help to distinguish Tysons from other urban areas and make it the place to be, translating into benefits to the local economy and quality of life. Creation of new urban parks in Tysons will be achieved largely through redevelopment. In some cases, the public and non-profit sectors may also help create new park opportunities.
A well-connected park network can be enjoyed by more people. Augmenting the park network with connections between isolated park spaces, stream valleys and key points of interest will enhance the value of all parks and further distinguish Tysons from other urban areas. Creating opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians to experience park spaces and points of interest in Tysons safely and conveniently is crucial. A recreational trail loop would enhance connectivity across the eight districts of Tysons. The proposed “Tysons Community Circuit” is a signature park system element that will tie all other elements together and elevate the park and recreation experience in Tysons.
The Tysons lifestyle will be more active with places to play. Tysons residents and workers will seek an active urban lifestyle that includes organized sports play. New athletic fields in a variety of sizes and shapes, including rectangles, diamonds, overlays, rooftop and indoor facilities should be provided in or near Tysons to serve this population. The park plan identifies possible locations for new athletic field development in Tysons, including those locations mentioned in the Tysons Urban Center Plan, those proffered and approved by rezoning applications, and other suggested locations.
Park experiences should be broad and varied in a vibrant future Tysons. In addition to large athletic fields, the people living and working in Tysons will expect a diverse array of recreational facilities and opportunities including rooftop and indoor facilities. Examples include playgrounds, sport courts, game tables, fitness stations, running tracks, skate parks, ice skating rinks, off-leash dog areas, indoor courts and gyms, program space, and aquatic facilities.
Tysons can build a sense of community through a robust park system. Civic spaces that provide cultural facilities and amenities in the urban environment promote social interaction and are important to help build community and ensure vibrancy and a high quality of life. Examples include public art, interactive art and educational displays, water features, seating areas, shade structures, picnic pavilions, community garden plots (including rooftop gardens), demonstration gardens, flexible event spaces, amphitheaters and other performance spaces. Larger civic spaces, such as the Signature Civic Commons will require collaboration between the private, public and non-profit sectors. The signature parks are envisioned as long term goals and will require creativity, advocacy, philanthropy and champions for successful implementation.
Tysons has a rich history that should be celebrated. From country crossroads to grid of streets, Tysons exceeded the steady progression seen across Fairfax County during the twentieth century. Historic sites and interpretive features add to the richness of the culture in Tysons. Preserving and interpreting these resources will enhance park experiences and provide a link to the history of Fairfax County and the nation. Interpretive opportunities abound for known historic and archaeological resources as well as for more recent architectural and cultural influences in Tysons. Preservation and interpretation can occur through both public and private efforts.
Nature is essential to balance the health and vibrancy of Tysons. Three stream valleys and associated Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) comprise a small, but important portion of Tysons. All three stream valleys provide opportunities for stormwater quantity and quality management, plant and wildlife habitat protection and enhancement, passive enjoyment of natural areas, volunteer resource stewardship, and interpretive and educational facilities and activities. Disturbance to these areas should be ecologically appropriate and balanced with restoration efforts. New developments in Tysons should utilize Low Impact Development (LID) techniques and contribute funds toward stream restoration. In addition, where possible, existing natural areas should be expanded and native plant habitats restored to previously disturbed land.



The Park Authority, along with staff from the Department of Planning and Zoning and the Office of Community Revitalization, has been involved in an effort to develop a comprehensive park system concept plan for Tysons since early 2012.

Park Planning Process


Tysons Park Planning


The Tysons park system planning process starts with public input! As the process moves forward there will be multiple opportunities for you to provide your input.

Tell us how you would like to spend your leisure time in Tysons! Participate in an online
Tysons Park Preferences Questionnaire >>



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