15 Projects in 15 Weeks: Mount Rainier Mixed-Use Town Center Development Plan (Week 15)

Located at the northeast entrance to Washington, DC, the City of Mount Rainier, MD was interested in improving its urban environment. In an effort to develop a new community-supported vision for the City that was founded on current and projected economic and market analysis, the CQA team (Bolan Smart, Gorove/Slade, R. McGhee & Associates, and Urban Advantage) designed the Mount Rainier Mixed-Use Town Center Development Plan. The Plan looks back to the city’s history as a successful mixed-use neighborhood, using a fine-grained approach, preserving buildings and inserting new infill structures.

Rendering of Rhode Island Avenue
The design process began with multiple site tours, interviews, and stakeholder meetings. A series of charrettes and community meetings were held throughout the process to ensure public participation and involvement.
Community Workshop & Charrette Session
Envisioning the area as a vital, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use town center with a special focus on the city’s artistic, historic, and environmental traditions, the final development plan includes implementation strategies, draft form-based code development/design guidelines, and transportation, land use, and sustainable infrastructure recommendations.
The Mount Rainier Mixed-Use Town Center Development Plan has received strong city, county and community support. Serving as an example of how historic neighborhoods can overcome past disinvestment and plan for a brighter future, the plan is currently being adopted as a prototype for other historic town centers in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Illustrative Plan
The Mount Rainier Mixed-Use Town Center plan has received two AIA Awards for its excellence in Master Planning and Urban Design, and has also been featured in Urban Land Magazine.