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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

DC to launch Cultural planning process: kick off meeting next Wednesday

As can be discerned from the various pieces I've written about DC cultural resources and planning issues from even before I started blogging (in 2005) I am not particularly optimistic that DC is capable of creating a robust, thoughtful, and innovative cultural plan.

Over the past few years, such plans have been produced for Chicago, Boston, and Brooklyn (Culture Forward Planning Document, Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District)--thanks to Christopher for the heads up on the latter. (And many other places have done such plans, and not just in the US.)

People have been critical ("City Arts Crisis: Boston Creates, One Year Later," Boston Magazine) about the planning document in Boston, which I haven't yet read, but they criticized it as a doppelganger of the plan for Chicago, which was criticized as being produced by a planning firm not based locally, but frankly, reading it, I thought the Chicago plan covered the bases very well.

I have a big problem with criticism in planning being about "out of area" planners, because frankly, cities, neighborhoods, organizations, and metropolitan areas function similarly regardless of location even though micro-circumstances differ, even if at the building-by-building and organization-by-organization scale, they are unique.

I don't have time to get to it til next week, but I will write a survey piece about cultural matters in the city, comparable to how I produced such documents/blog entries in association with the city's retail planning, transportation plan, central library planning, and State Rail Plan processes.

Come to think of it, except for the DC State Rail Plan, I don't think those documents had much impact.


INTERMISSIONDC: a community event on DC, culture and planning July 20, 2016

 INTERMISSIONDC: a community event on DC, culture and planning
  • WHEN
  • Wednesday, July 20, 2016 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - 901 G Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001 -
The DC Office of Planning is kicking off an eight-month effort to draft a Cultural Plan for Washington DC.   When completed, the DC Cultural Plan will lay out a vision and recommendations on how the government and its partners can build upon, strengthen and invest in the people, places, communities and ideas that define culture within the nation's capital. 

INTERMISSIONDC seeks to bring together residents, artists and planners to engage with one another on issues related to cultural development, preservation, production, expression and consumption. It will consist of a series of structured and unstructured interactive activities, using different media, which allow participants to share their reflections, suggestions and ideas. It is the first of many public events that the DC Office of Planning will host to capture community insight as the Cultural Plan is being drafted. There is no cost for this event.

The DC Cultural Plan is being developed in collaboration with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment, through the support of the DC Council.

Please complete a short survey to help us prepare for this event: IntermissionDCSurvey

Please click here to RSVP for the event. For additional questions please contact the Office of Planning at



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