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The Days of Two Remaining D.C. Urban Renewal Plans Could Be Numbered

Urban renewal plans for Downtown D.C. and the Shaw neighborhood are all that's left of a mid-20th-century planning effort.
February 12, 2020, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Washington, D.C.
Urban Renewal Plan for the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area

"As Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration continues to pursue policy changes that would help reach her goal of adding 36,000 housing units to the District by 2025, it is now tackling a pair of 50-year-old land-use plans it says act as impediments to development," reports Jan Banister.

More specifically, "submitted a proposal to the D.C. Council Jan. 24 to terminate the urban renewal plans for the Shaw and Downtown D.C. neighborhoods," according to Banister.

The two urban renewal plan targeted by Mayor Bowser are a legacy of planning efforts in D.C. during the 1950s and '60s, which produced 12 urban renewal plans. "Urban renewal in the District is often associated with the overhaul of Southwest D.C. that led to the displacement of minority communities and is widely considered a failure," explains Bowser.

A letter written by Mayor Bowser justifying the proposal to end the two urban renewal plans is quoted in the article. According to Bowser, the urban renewal plans pursue a more suburban approach to planning that is outdated in Washington, D.C. today.

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