D.C. Devises How to Stay Dry During Future Floods

Many of America's national treasures sit in low lying areas of D.C. that are vulnerable to extreme floods (it was built atop a tidal plain, after all). With such floods likely to increase, planners and engineers are devising protection plans.
Paulo Ordoveza / flickr

"The Mall is where people mean when they say Washington was built on a swamp — or more precisely, malarial marshland," observes Jennifer Ludden. "Constitution Avenue was once a boggy creek. So you can easily imagine water rushing over manicured lawns, pouring into marble lobbies, threatening the national treasures within — just like in one of those D.C. disaster movies that Hollywood loves."

"Except it already happened [PDF] — in 2006, [Amy Tarce, a federal urban planner with the National Capital Planning Commission] says, after a week of continuous rain."

"There's a very interesting discussion always about how bad is it going to get in 50 years," says Brendan Shane, chief of the Office of Policy and Sustainability for the District of Columbia's Department of the Environment. "Well, the problem is, it could get really bad already."

Flood barriers, automatic flood gates, green roofs, and a huge underground pumping station are among the defense measures being considered and built to keep the flood waters away.

Full Story: With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding

Comments

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 $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00
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