Density isn’t a bad word

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Density isn’t a bad word
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To the editor: 

It is objectively true that Alexandria is the most densely populated city in Virginia, and older neighborhoods like Old Town and Del Ray are some of the densest parts of the city. It is also true that Alexandria is the best city in Virginia, and our densest neighborhoods are some of our most desirable. That’s clear from the volume of tourists who visit, the high demand for housing and the passionate civic pride and engagement of their citizens. 

I therefore struggle to understand why “density” is treated as a pejorative in our civic discourse, when Alexandria itself is a testament to its benefits: walkable neighborhoods, thriving small businesses, better transit and cultural and economic diversity that can only exist with a diversity of housing options. My family chose to put down roots in this city, not despite its density but because of it. 

At the August 29 kickoff event for Zoning for Housing, city staff provided a context and justification for the proposed reforms. The crux was this: onerous, exclusionary zoning regulations mean it is no longer legal to build more communities like Old Town or Del Ray. ZFH is a step toward fixing that, and letting Alexandria be Alexandria. 

-Trip Hook, Alexandria 

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