Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA @CityLab

Official Trailer: Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA from Rebekah Wingert-Jabi on Vimeo.

Image James Rossant / Palindrome
An early rendering of the public gathering spot that would later become Reston Town Center.(James Rossant / Palindrome)
It’s rare for a 1960s suburban development to exert a cultural pull distinct from its neighboring city, but Reston pulled it off.
Situated about 20 miles from Washington, D.C., in what used to be northern Virginia farmland, this settlement has attracted generations of urbanists for its people-first brand of development. When Robert E. Simon Jr. bought the land and planned his flagship project, he insisted on walkability, density, access to nature and green space, and diversity of races and income levels. He didn’t invent these principles—his inspirations were hundreds of years old—but he and his successors managed to realize them at a scale and level of success that hadn’t been seen before
The new documentary Another Way of Living: The Story of RestonVA charts Simon’s project from its genesis to now, through some of the last interviews he gave before passing away last year at 101. He’s a complicated fellow: an idealist dedicated to principles of quality, but also a grounded extrovert who understood—unlike most post-war suburban developers—that there are place-based requirements to happy living. The film, which screens Thursday at the Environmental Film Festival in D.C., makes the case that the best ideas driving urban revival today were actually tested and implemented by the team that built Reston 50 years ago.

[Keep reading at Citylab]