Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DC building heights issue


In the ongoing examination by the National Capital Planning Commission of the issue of building heights in Washington DC and whether or not to raise them, they sponsored a presentation last week.  (Left: Washington Post image.)

Fortunately the presentation is online.

The City Paper Housing Complex blog has a nice piece on it, "What Can D.C. Learn From European Building Heights?," and the discussion by presenters from Europe who contrast how new taller buildings have been allowed in some areas, while focusing on preserving key viewsheds.

The City Paper follow up, "NCPC Lays Out Steps Ahead for Height Act Study," provides more on the issue. From the article:

The National Capital Planning Commission got its study of potential changes to the Height Act rolling this afternoon with a meeting that laid out the steps ahead before NCPC needs to submit its recommendations to Congress in September. ... NCPC's David Zaidain said there will be three phases to the study:

• Phase 1: Background research and definition of federal and local interests. This phase includes lessons from other capital cities around the world, for which Zaidain said Tuesday's panel on European building heights was a "good starting point." Zaidain said NCPC has hired consultants to help with this phase, and it will be completed by May.

• Phase 2: Identify geographic and technical areas for strategic changes to the Height Act. Issa's letter to NCPC encouraged changes outside the "L'Enfant city," the historic city center south of Florida Avenue NW and west of the Anacostia River. Zaidain said NCPC The D.C. Office of Planning has likewise hired consultants for this phase, to assess modeling, viewshed analysis, and economic feasibility, and that Phase 2 will be completed by June.

• Phase 3: submission of recommendations to Congress and conclusion of plan. September's the deadline.

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