As one of the first new urbanist developments, Kentlands transformed the development practices of Gaithersburg, Maryland and beyond. It boasts an active pedestrian-oriented mixed-use district (a former strip-center), scores of shops and restaurants, farmers market, cinema, two grocery stores, several civic institutions and a diverse mixture of people at all stages of life. Today, this series of neighborhoods is the urban center for the surrounding suburban region.
Public transportation via Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system connects the Kentlands town center with the region at large, including the Shady Grove Metro station which allows riders car-free access to Washington D.C.’s major employment centers and destinations.
Among the many assets of the project is the preservation and transformation of the existing structures, large trees and wetlands into amenities the community can share and preserve for the use of future generations. While much of the existing site was agricultural land, the Old Farm neighborhood (including the farmstead, barn and outbuildings) have all been integrated into the town. This preservation and reuse strategy is not only a sustainable design practice, but also a unique way of connecting residents with the history of the place in which they live.
There are also several lakes in Kentlands that are preserved in their original state or expanded to manage stormwater run-off and non-point source pollution. The lakes participate in a larger greenway network that meanders between adjacent developments, providing residents recreational opportunities and connection to the areas natural ecology.
As one of the most mature and complete examples of the first generation of new urbanism, Kentlands uses common sense but highly effective environmental and urban design techniques to prove the viability of sustainable urban growth in the larger region. DPZ continues to be involved in Kentlands, serving as the Community Architect and as the location for the DC branch office.