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A L’Enfant Plan for the Anacostia

Tsarchitect and GGW have a cross-post up detailing and critiquing a plan by a group called Build DC to radically reinvent the Anacostia waterfront. The plan would introduce a fully urban street grid to both sides of the river, reclaiming for urban development land currently occupied by parking lots and empty fields. The plan would completely stitch together neighborhoods east and west of the river currently separated by a mile or more of wasteland. The river itself, which is wide but shallow, would be narrowed and channelized, with an elevated esplanade on each bank a la the Seine in Paris. Instead of the region’s forgotten and polluted stepchild, the Anacostia could be its crown jewel.

Obviously before such an ambitious plan were implemented a lot of details would have to be worked out. Is it really necessary to narrow the river, or bury every rail line? How would we pay for it? So on. These aren’t easy questions, but this isn’t a plan that’s supposed to be implemented tomorrow; it’s a 100 year vision for gradual change. We can start with the District government’s own Anacostia Initiative and go from there.

I’ll leave the more detailed explanation and debate to the excellent post already up at GGW and Tsarchitect, but the long story short is that this plan would make the city drastically better, in just about every way. I hope I live to see something like it implemented.

click for enlarged version at GGW
Build DC’s proposed street grid for the Anacostia. Yes please.

October 15th, 2009 | Permalink
Tags: master planning



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