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A neighborhood evolves

Perception Survey results show that more people see Rosslyn positively and there’s still room to improve

Every January for the past three years, the Rosslyn BID has conducted a five-minute written survey to learn more about how people perceive the neighborhood and find out what they'd like to see in the future. Seeking feedback from stakeholders is important to us. It provides insights into the successes of the past year’s programming and helps shape what we prioritize in the future.

This year, 1,361 people completed our survey, which was distributed through individual outreach, social media and our weekly eBlast. Most respondents were Rosslyn residents, followed by workers, visitors and those who say they do not visit Rosslyn. The largest group of respondents was 21-29 years old (35 percent), and 94 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

So, what did we learn about perceptions of Rosslyn in 2018? The major takeaway this year is that . . . 

Rosslyn is viewed favorably as a place to live and work and residents and employees are happy here.

This year's perception survey results indicate that Rosslyn is viewed favorably as a place to work across all stakeholder groups. Most notably, 93 percent of employees say they are happy here.

While Rosslyn has always been well-regarded for its bustling 9-5 scene and great commuting options, this year we saw significant improvement in perceptions of Rosslyn as a place to work across all stakeholder groups. Most notably, 93 percent of employees say they are happy here. Workers say they most appreciate Rosslyn's Metro and bus accessibility, variety of lunch options, convenience (in terms of running errands), and bike accessibility, and a few wrote in that they enjoy events in Gateway Park and on Central Place Plaza.

Rosslyn residents like being here, as well: 92 percent of residents said they felt positive about Rosslyn as a place to live. They cited the neighborhood's convenience and accessibility as top reasons to live here.

Changing perceptions over time

Since we are in the third year of conducting this survey, we were also interested in examining changes in perception of Rosslyn over time. We learned that, since 2016, key stakeholder groups have described Rosslyn more positively over the years.

Since 2016, the largest improvement collectively across resident, employee and visitor groups has been in perceptions of Rosslyn as a place to play and as a place for entertainment. A roster of more than 200 annual events, including food-related events like the kombucha tasting pictured above, helps reinforce these perceptions.

For instance, when we conducted our first survey in 2016, the top responses to the question, “What are three words you would use to describe Rosslyn?” included positive words such as “Convenient” and “Accessible,” but also a negative word, “Boring.” In 2017, there was a shift away from negativity with more positive words such as “Growing,” “Fun,” and “Safe.” This progress has carried through to 2018 with the inclusion of the same positive descriptors from last year as well as the resurgence of “Busy” from 2016, a nod to our bustling community.

The largest improvement collectively across resident, employee and visitor groups has been in perceptions of Rosslyn as a place to play and as a place for entertainment. While the strongest shift in perception of Rosslyn as a place to play has been driven by visitors, improving overall by 17 percentage points, residents prompted the largest change in sentiments on entertainment, improving overall by 15 percentage points.

Hopes for the future

Each year, we ask survey participants questions that will elicit responses that, on the surface, appear negative. That's because we want to know what specifically would make them spend more time in Rosslyn and what changes and improvements they would like to see.

This year’s responses mirrored trends we’ve seen in previous years: Stakeholders want more places to shop, especially more grocery stores and a bookstore. They want more sit-down dining, longer operating hours, more nightlife and more entertainment. And they continue to find parking in Rosslyn challenging

Next steps

So, now that we have these responses, how will we use this data? Well, we’ll incorporate it into our strategic planning process and brainstorm additional ways to enhance our community and meet your needs. While the Rosslyn BID alone cannot bring you more sit-down restaurants or grocery stores, we can support those who do. We can provide information about available retail, and host events that help address your concerns (such as the annual farmers market and pop-up retail events). And in case you hadn't noticed, we love your feedback so keep it coming, whether we’re sending out a survey or not. You can always email us at

In closing, we want to say thank you again to everyone who completed our survey. We are grateful for your shared interest in making our neighborhood a great place. If you’d like more details of the survey findings, you can find an executive summary of the results here.

 Featured Rosslyn Events

FRESHFARM Rosslyn Farmers Market
Wednesday, May 4 - Wednesday, October 26
at Central Place Plaza

Anytime Fitness Anniversary Party
Sunday, June 26
at Anytime Fitness Rosslyn

Rosslyn Rocks
Thursday, July 7 - Thursday, July 14
at Central Place Plaza