Founded in 1964, Reston was influenced by the Garden City movement that emphasized planned, self-contained communities that intermingled green space, residential neighborhoods, and commercial development. The intent of Reston's founder, Robert E. Simon, was to build a town that would revolutionize the concepts of land use and residential/corporate development in suburban America. In 2018, Reston was ranked as the Best Place to Live in Virginia by Money magazine for its expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths as well as the numerous shopping and dining opportunities in Reston Town Center. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, Reston's population was 63,226.
Simon officially launched Reston on April 10, 1964 (his 50th birthday) and named the community using his initials. He laid out seven "guiding principles" that would stress quality of life and serve as the foundation for its future development. His goal was for Restonians to live, work, and play in their own community, with common grounds and scenic beauty shared equally regardless of income level, thereby building a stronger sense of community ties. The initial motto of the community, as articulated by Simon, was "Work, Play, Live"
Reston is divided into three separate planning areas: the original Planned Residential Community (PRC) area that governs the majority of residential areas in the community; the Reston Town Center (RTC) District, which includes all of the high-density, high-rise portions of Town Center; and the Transit Station Area (TSA) on either side of the Dulles Toll Road.
Building on Robert Simon's emphasis on preserving green space and providing recreational opportunities, Reston features over 55 miles of walking and hiking paths for residents, with currently about 250 acres of woodlands and open space. Reston is noted for its tree canopy, which currently covers about half of Reston's total area. It is one of only 8 American localities to be a member of the worldwide Biophilic Cities Organization, which promotes the importance of protecting and promoting nature within urban areas.
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