D.C. Unveils Ambitious Eco-District Plans

Upending the adage that nothing gets done in D.C. these days, last week the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) released their long range plans for remaking the Southwest area of the capital, capping two years of intense debate.

"Designed to undo the worst damage of the massive 'urban renewal' projects inflicted on L'Enfant neighborhood over the past decades," the long range Southwest Eco-District plan intends to, "transform the spooky, almost pedestrian-free area just south of the Mall into a highly sustainable, people-friendly cultural and business destination," reports the ASLA's The Dirt blog. Guided by landscape architect Elizabeth Miller, ASLA, the "110-acre, 15-square block project is meant to showcase 'high performance buildings and landscapes' while creating space for 19,000 new federal workers and solving some of the worst pedestrian access problems."

"Miller outlined a vision for an Eco-District that provokes the imagination, at least among sustainable designers. She said the new District will 'capture, manage, and reuse water, energy, and waste' and work beyond a single building, leveraging clusters of buildings to create a new system. At the same time, the plan will take aim at the incredible lack of public access - the barriers, the highways, and grade changes - that keep people away, except for the federal workers that have to go there for work."

The plan's green goals are ambitious, aiming for a "zero-net energy district as measured in carbon," reducing potable water use by 70%, managing all stormwater on site, reusing 75% of construction materials for the new buildings, and diverting 80% everyday waste from landfills.

Full Story: In D.C., New Eco-District Plans Unveiled

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