Kentlands was one of the first attempts to develop a community using Traditional Neighborhood Design planning techniques known as New Urbanism which means building from scratch a walk able, mixed-use city neighborhood or new town in order to provide an attractive alternative to the spread out, automobile-centric, subdivisions common to post-World War II American suburbia.
The development, begun in 1988, contains buildings from the original Kentlands farm, many varieties of residences, a “downtown” commercial district, open space including protected natural areas and pocket parks, and civic uses including schools, a church, and an arts center. Market Square, Kentlands Square, and the Boulevard Shops are commercial districts with grocery stores, banks, boutiques, offices, stores, dozens of restaurants, and a 10-screen cinema cafe. Main Street is a mixed-use area with distinctive “live-work” buildings with retail and office uses on the lower floors and residential uses on the upper floors.
Kentlands, along with its sister community Lakelands, is among the largest and arguably most successful of the New Urbanist projects. More than 8,000 residents now live in Kentlands and Lakelands, with office and commercial development totaling more than 1,000,000 Rachel Carson Elementary School is at one entrance to the community and Lakelands Park Middle School divides the newer development of Lakelands from the former National Geographic complex that is adjacent to it, now occupied by Montgomery County Regional Services Center and the Montgomery County Liquor Control Board Warehouse.
Throughout the year, various community events take place in and around the Kentlands organized by community members. These include the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K race, the Oktoberfest in the Kentlands, the Fourth of July Parade, film festivals, and acoustic jams.
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