When people refer to ‘Suburban Richmond,’ they are most likely referring to the areas in Western Chesterfield, Western Henrico or Central and Eastern Hanover where the lot size increased and ‘subdivisions’ became the primary method of development. Two story detached colonials and transitional-styled homes built in large subdivisions in close proximity to schools, shopping and interstate became the preferred development model beginning in the later 1970’s.
Accompanying the trend towards ‘suburban’ housing, office parks such as Innsbrook and The Arboretum also moved office spaces out of the urban core and put it closer to the homes and schools. Subdivisions (sometimes referred to as PUD’s) such as Wyndham, Twin Hickory and Wellsley in Henrico were built with pools, schools and shopping intertwined into the neighborhood. Chesterfield’s Salisbury, Brandermill and Woodlake or Hanover’s Ash Creek, King’s Charter and Pebble Creek share many of the same features with cul-de-sac based design to calm traffic and retail shopping at the entry or close by. Generally speaking, the county school systems are some of the strongest in the Metro and the areas with the best test scores tend to have the higher property values within their respective counties.
While Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover are the three most populous counties in the Metro, Powhatan, Goochland, New Kent and Amelia are also considered part of the Richmond Metropolitan area.
Recently, counties have been more agreeable to higher density mixed-use projects based on the ‘New Urbanist’ developments found in larger metro areas across the country. West Broad Village and Rockett’s Landing are two projects in Henrico that mimic the urban core’s basic model of street level retail or office uses with residential spaces above and on-street parking.