D.C.'s Popularity Brings Growing Pains

Jonathan O’Connell looks at Washington's remarkable growth over the past decade, as the city has become a magnet for young professionals, and wonders if the city will be able to retain those residents as they become parents.
May 29, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Over the last decade, successive administrations and their teams of urban planners have focused on attracting young professionals to D.C. with ambitious plans for growth. And their efforts have been hugely successful. With the city's population having increased by more than 45,000 residents since 1999, and the majority of the newcomers between 18 and 34, "The influx of newcomers has transformed the city from a symbol of civic dysfunction and drab government offices to a cosmopolitan hub - an urban playground," writes O'Connell.

"What D.C. hasn't yet figured out, or even really planned for, is what happens when this raft of newcomers grows out of one-bedroom condo living. What happens when their lives evolve past the urban-playground stage and they are less interested in speakeasies than in parks for their kids?"

O'Connell advocates for city leaders to pay more attention to providing places to east and play for children, diversifying the housing stock, improving schools, and building parks to fully capitalize on its recent transformation.

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Published on Friday, May 25, 2012 in The Washington Post
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