The Man Who Would Plan Washington

The blog Greater Greater Washington has been instrumental in furthering the discussion of land use in D.C. Rachel Weiner profiles its controversial founder, David Alpert, whose lack of formal planning experience is no impediment to his ambitions.

"Part news site, part advocacy group, part community newsletter, Greater Greater Washington is like an unending handbook to being an engaged D.C.-area resident, attracting more than 100,000 unique visitors a month," writes Weiner. "While the blog has attracted an array of contributors, it’s the vision of Alpert — a former software engineer with no formal planning experience — that has shaped the views of both citizens and politicians on what a better city means and how to get it."

"In the process, he’s also become a symbol of the divides in the city between development and preservation, young and old, bikes and cars, black and white. Criticism of the blog often essentially boils down to: Who does this guy think he is?"

A recent arrival to the Nation's Capital who "at first glance...fits perfectly the stereotype of the careless gentrifier," the Harvard dropout and former Google developer nevertheless "sees his blog as an advocate for the problems bedeviling the city’s poorest residents: unemployment, educational inequality, a lack of affordable housing."

"Blog posts focused on economic inequality don’t always get the same attention as, say, a map of CityBike usage," notes Weiner. But, "Alpert and his team think they can change that, in part by framing social diversity as a desirable part of city living for wealthier residents."

“I think that a lot of people actually want a neighborhood with a mix of races and income levels and types of people,” Alpert said.

Full Story: David Alpert: His vision for Greater Greater Washington and the District

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Currently on backorder
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00