With the passing last Fall of Reston, Virginia founder Robert E. Simon, Jr., it is fitting that a movie has been released that tells the story of this community. Built in the Virginia suburbs west of Washington, DC, Reston was meant to be different that the post-World War II suburban sprawl that spread outside cities all over North America.
The latest screening of “Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA” will happen this Sunday, April 10 at 7:30 pm at the Reston Town Center Pavilion. The movie tells the story of Bob Simon’s efforts to build a mixed-use, nature-embracing, diverse community in the countryside of Northern Virginia in the 1960s.
Bob Simon Dreamed of ‘Another Way of Living’ That Valued Community, Nature, and Social Equity
The brainchild of film director Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, who grew up in Reston, the film makes clear that “idealism alone wasn’t enough to keep his dream alive.” The mix of residential and commercial zones in an era of single-use zoning, financial challenges, and a nationwide addiction to vehicle dependency, are just some of the challenges Simon faced in building Reston.
As the movie’s website explains, “Bob Simon dreamed ‘another way of living’ that valued community, nature, and social equity. He set out to build a suburban town that integrated citizens across racial, economic, and religious divides. His vision was realized in the New Town of Reston, VA, in 1964.”
Today, Reston has set a tone. Developments such as Reston Town Center, the Mosaic district in Fairfax, Virginia, and planned development in Tysons, Northern Virginia’s future city, are local representations of a nationwide movement.