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What’s Missing From Fairfax County

The Center for Innovative Technology building in Herdon, Va.

Fairfax County appeals to millennials with its schools, safeness, affordability and employment prospects without generationally targeted initiatives neighboring counties have implemented. As Fairfax’s density increases, the types of bars, coffee shops and innovative restaurants once exclusively found in D.C. are gradually encroaching into the county’s landscape, giving it a more cosmopolitan feel.

The filling-in is concentrated around transportation hubs, and much of the county is still distinctly suburban. Established areas like Reston Town Center and the Mosaic District, while admirable in scope and ambition, demonstrate how Fairfax runs the risk of becoming disjointed. As millennials increasingly prefer to go car-free, the county will need to more uniformly urbanize to address its sprawl.

Inova Campus for Personalized Health in Vienna, Va.

Fairfax County also lacks a clear identity, which may be why general excitement around and perception of the area still is not aligned with the tremendous progress it has made toward live-work-play in recent years.

It already has pockets that pulse with an urban vibe boasting many of the conveniences and amenities of city living, with the area’s first Whole Foods Market 365 opening soon. It has blisteringly fast gigabit internet thanks to Cox, and no meals tax after 56% of residents who voted to oppose the measure in November.

Local developer Aaron Georgelas believes a sports stadium could bring some notoriety, energy and community spirit to the area, while generating additional income and introducing new jobs. The Washington football team is actively looking for a new home, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been trying to woo it from Maryland to Virginia.