In 1961, Robert E. Simon purchased 6,750 acres in Fairfax County, Virginia to create the New Town of Reston, the first city in the United States to be built as part of a Regional Development Plan recommendation for a major metropolitan center. Its premise was that a well-designed community would honor the dignity of every resident, enhancing the quality of life, for work and play, for one’s whole life long. Simon was joined by city planners Julian H. Whittlesey and William Conklin (former associates of Clarence Stein and Henry Wright) and landscape architects Dan Kiley and Meade Palmer.
The team laid out a town of 6 ‘villages’ and a larger, more urbanized ‘Town Center’ on the nearly 10.5 square mile site. By developing new zoning rules allowing for clustered and mixed development, the designers sought to combine the social density that makes urban living enjoyable with the privacy possible in a small town. Reston includes 1,300 acres of open space, including a 72-acre nature preserve. A variety of architects and developers were asked to build housing in a wide range of types, styles, and prices.
Later purchasers of the town largely adhered to the original master plan and since its inception Reston has become home to more than 60,000 residents, hundreds of retail shops, over 900 acres of light industry, and thousands of offices. In 2002, Reston was awarded a National Planning Landmark Award by the American Institute of Certified Planners.