Greenbelt is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, and a suburb of Washington, D.C.. Greenbelt is notable for being the first and the largest of the three experimental and controversial New Deal Greenbelt Towns, planned and built by the Federal government of the United States. The cooperative community was conceived in 1935, by Undersecretary of Agriculture Rexford Guy Tugwell, who was perceived by some of his contemporaries as having held a collectivist ideology and was utilized as a source of opposition to the Greenbelt Towns project throughout its short duration. The project came into legal existence in the spring of 1935. On April 8, 1935, the United States Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. Under the authority granted to him from this legislation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order, on May 1, 1935, establishing the United States Resettlement Administration (RA/RRA).
Originally referred to as Maryland Special Project No. 1, the project was officially given the name Greenbelt when the Division of Suburban Resettlement of the Resettlement Administration began construction on January 13, 1936, approximately 8 miles north of Washington, D.C. The complete Greenbelt plans were reviewed at the White House by President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on April 30, 1936. The first tenants, after being selected through a stringent and restrictive application process, moved into the town, which consisted of structures built in the Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Bauhaus architectural styles, on September 30, 1937.
Greenbelt is credited as a historic milestone in urban development, which includes its role as having served as the initial model for the privately constructed suburban Washington, D.C. planned cities of Reston, Virginia and Columbia, Maryland.
Known locally as Old Greenbelt, the original, federally-built core of the city was recognized as the Greenbelt Historic District by the Maryland Historical Trust, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark District.
Greenbelt's population, which includes residents of private sector dwellings that were constructed over several decades subsequent to the federal government's ownership of the city, was recorded as 23,068 in the 2010 U.S. Census.
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