Can Designers Turn a D.C. Park into the City's "Town Square"?

At Franklin Park, a group of Washington city planners and their team of consultants are seeking to succeed where others have failed - revive an old D.C. park - and provide a model for similar spaces in the process.
September 15, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As part of a special report on the shifting landscape of downtown D.C. appearing in The Washington Post MagazineDavid Montgomery looks at a cross-departmental effort to revive the city's historic Franklin Park - "a laboratory that could help the District join a renaissance of park development that is sweeping the country." 

Although the city has found success in creating new parks with federal and private partners, it "has not yet cracked the code of reanimating that most archetypal of urban open spaces, the simple old city park," writes Montgomery. "That’s where Franklin Park comes in. The city and the National Park Service (which owns Franklin and most green acres in Washington) have budgeted $1 million through 2014 to plan and design a revitalized Franklin, with prodding from surrounding businesses via the Downtown Business Improvement District."

In addition to finding the funds to actually complete the work once the plan is completed, "[t]he challenge [for designers] will be finding the proper balance between active and passive, constructed and open, trendy and eternal," notes Montgomery.

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Published on Friday, September 13, 2013 in The Washington Post
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