When Amazon chose Arlington, Virginia, as the site of its future “HQ2” in 2018, its selection catalyzed development of what is slated to be the smartest city in America. Its headquarters is the focal point of National Landing, a new downtown across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., comprising three neighboring communities and the adjacent airport. With a footprint the size of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a current office density surpassing that of downtown Austin, National Landing is undergoing a generational transformation.
Thanks to nearly $12 billion worth of public and private investment, National Landing is anchored by Amazon, the Pentagon, Boeing’s global headquarters, and Virginia Tech’s STEM Innovation Campus. When complete, it will boast a multimodal transit hub, transformed streetscape, and more bandwidth than even Amazon knows what to do with.
The brainchild of real estate developer and investor JBG Smith, National Landing is being built in conjunction with AT&T, Cisco, Nvidia, and Federated Wireless, among others. Unlike the fizzled smart cities of a decade ago, the project doesn’t aim to install technology for technology’s sake but, rather, to offer what Adam Rashid, senior vice president and head of Smart Cities & Digital Infrastructure at JBG Smith, calls “a purpose-built converged digital infrastructure, where innovative companies can develop and test technologies at city scale to offer new products and services to businesses, residents, and visitors.”
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