Place + Opportunity: Strategies for Creating Great Communities and a Stronger Region

Place + Opportunity: Strategies for Creating Great Communities and a Stronger Region is an initiative to strengthen and enhance Activity Centers throughout metropolitan Washington. Building on Region Forward and Economy Forward, a call to action on economic development needs, this report represents the next step in COG’s work on Activity Centers. Incorporating in-depth research on market, physical, and socioeconomic characteristics of the region’s Activity Centers, Place + Opportunity report offers goals, strategies, and tools to assist local governments and other stakeholders working to create thriving, high-opportunity places.


This report presents a regional framework to understand common challenges and opportunities among Activity Centers in our region. Examining a cross section of the region’s 141 Activity Centers, the Place + Opportunity Project Team conducted detailed analysis of each Center’s market, urban form, and socioeconomic characteristics to identify six common Activity Center place types’ and four opportunity types.’ The six place types and four opportunity types provide a starting point to help local communities make sound decisions for their Centers and navigate potential actions and investments. For each place and opportunity type, the report provides a set of development goals, strategies, and tools to support implementation of key priorities, complement local planning and development efforts, and help communities meet their aspirations for their Activity Centers.

2013 Activity Centers

Activity Centers are the locations that will accommodate the majority
of the region’s future growth. They include existing urban centers,
priority growth areas, traditional towns, and transit hubs. Together,
Activity Centers will play a central role in achieving Region Forward’s
prosperity, sustainability, accessibility, and livability goals.

The Region Forward Baseline Progress Report

Report measures regional performance related to 28 targets found in Region Forward, a long-range vision plan adopted by COG and its member governments in 2010.

Region Forward ©

In 2008, the COG Board of Directors formed the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition to create a comprehensive vision for the National Capital Region. They invited elected officials, business and civic leaders to guide the initiative to make sure the effort would be inclusive. Rather than launch a new visioning process that could take several years, the 2050 Coalition’s challenge was to tie together earlier work in a comprehensive way and set the stage for swift action.

The Region Forward report details the 2050 Coalition’s work and sets forth regional goals, a compact agreement, and targets and indicators to measure success toward the goals. It encourages area jurisdictions, businesses, civic groups and individuals to pledge to work together to meet the Greater Washington 2050 Goals. To show you how the goals and targets are connected, they are presented in categories: Accessibility, Sustainability, Prosperity, and Livability; that explain how this new, comprehensive vision will shape and benefit the region.

Priorities for a Growing Region

The Greater Washington 2050 Coalition launched a regional survey to identify priorities, attitudes and core values of residents in our region. The survey was conducted during February and March of 2009. Findings from the comprehensive survey were presented at a press conference on May 1st. The survey results show support for addressing priorities regionally and view transportation, education, and the economy as the most important long-term issues facing the region.  Survey Presentation Read the Press Release

BIG Moves: Report of the Scenarios Workshop

In November 2008, the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition and regional leaders participated in a full-day scenario thinking workshop to brainstorm how our region could respond to global and national trends that would likely influence our region’s future.

The purpose of the scenario workshop was to examine long-term risks and opportunities in the metropolitan region and encourage bold and creative thinking. The process revealed common growth and development strategies for our region to consider when planning for any future. These strategies are Greater Washington’s Big Moves.

Ten Big Moves for the Region

1. Pursue Transit-Oriented Development
2. Leverage Emerging Sustainable Technologies
3. Emphasize Green Economic Development
4. Develop Greater Washington as a Knowledge Hub
5. Strengthen Regionalism
6. Use Financial Innovations
7. Ensure Availability of Moderate & Low-Cost Housing
8. Focus on Quality of Life
9. Improve Public Education
10. Promote Health