D.C. Developments Are Successfully Bland

Large housing developments popping up in Washington D.C. are gaining praise from the city's leadership for reinvigorating a once desolate area. But the developments are also garnering criticism for failing to weave residents in with the city.

Condos and apartment buildings are growing like weeds on Washington D.C.'s Massachusetts Avenue. The city's mayor, Anthony Williams, played a large role in encouraging the developments and has received much praise for his leadership. Though the developments seem to be bringing economic success to a formerly deserted area, some feel that the bland architecture and lack of connection to the city will leave a scar on D.C. in the long run.

"Politically and economically this is an urban success story. But look at the details of these buildings and they don't seem very urban at all. Yes, many of them have street-level retail -- and the chain stores are moving in. And yes, these buildings will bring thousands of new residents to a once-empty area. But they also have an inexorable thrust upward, to rooftop pools and running tracks and common areas that give their denizens a view of the city from 100 feet up, rather than an immersion in it."

Full Story: The Mediocre Mile




Yeah, as we were saying, a lot of these condo developments have so many amenities as to leave little reason for residents to go out and do stuff. I don't like the expression vertical sprawl, but if gated communities are associated with sprawl then vertical gated communities are vertical sprawl.

The article also talks about speed of the development and the neighborhood's redesign. Surely if more "organic" development were desired the development would have happened much more slowly -- but the apparent goal was "to make this stuff happen, fast," and what faster way to achieve development than to allow amenity-rich mass production?

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.

Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95