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Urban or suburban? The question of which modifier best describes downtown Silver Spring may be still unanswered (after much debate). Census data anaylzed by planning and urbanism blogger Michael Rodriguez points to the former, showing that the center of downtown Silver Spring's density—how many people are living within a certain area—rivals some of Washington, DC's densest places.
The most dense location in Silver Spring is the census tract that surrounds the Metro station. (We've been talking a lot about census tract 7026.01 lately, here and here.) It encompasses the area west of East-West Highway, east of 16th Street. In this area, there are 34,816 people per square mile (ppsm), a rate of density that is higher than any other tract in Montgomery County, inside the Beltway, according to maps created by Rodriguez. (An area of Chevy Chase is second at 34,000 ppsm.)
By comparison, some of the most popular neighborhoods in DC have a lower density, including neighborhoods like Adams Morgan (around 31,000 ppsm) and some of Shaw, Petworth, Columbia Heights and northern Logan Circle. Southern Logan Circle was the densest place in the region with 67,149 ppsm. The rest of the District is less dense than those places.
The second highest density in Silver Spring was a tract of land just west of the Metro station, with 24,183 ppsm. Further east and away from the Metro station, density hovered around 11,000 ppsm. The average for city neighborhoods and suburbs inside of the Beltway was 6,749, Rodriguez found.
Does Silver Spring's density surprise you? Does Silver Spring feel more dense than some neighborhoods in the District?
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