Author Topic: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC  (Read 7233 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« on: January 28, 2009, 05:00:00 AM »
Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC



A brief tour around the downtown core of the nation's capitol: Washington, DC.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/994

Jason

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 10:25:32 AM »
Excellent tour Lake!!  Very well done!

After reading the article I feel like I've been to DC.

tufsu1

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 10:33:38 AM »
As someone who grew up in the area, its been impressive to see the renaissance that DC itself has undergone in the last decade....most of the credit goes to Andrew Altman, who was planning director from around 1999-2004....he went on to direct an organization that does redevelopment along the Anacostia riverfront (where the new baseball stadium is located)....and now he's in Philly.

But I seriously question the downtown walkscore of 97....the neighborhoods are very walkable, but I always found downtown to be a bit intimidating as a pedestrian....the Mall itself is almost 2 miles long and I never walked the whole thing as a kid...the buildings are large and monumental and the boulevards are wide...combined with all the angled intersections and traffic circles makes walking a challenge.

thelakelander

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 11:06:01 AM »
Walkscore does not consider the Mall as a part of downtown.  However, they do show Chinatown as being a part of downtown.  It ranks high because there are a ton of things to walk to at ground level and the buildings are pedestrian oriented.

link to DC walkscore map: http://www.walkscore.com/rankings/Washington_D.C.
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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 02:09:30 PM »
Awesome stuff, Lake. I was in DC this summer, first time I'd visited that city since going there a number of times with my parents in the pre-college years...

Georgetown was pretty nice. Interesting that it is not accessed by the metro. I was told that the residents of Georgetown fought against having a stop there, in part, to keep undesirables away. This is just unsubstantiated hearsay though, as both people who told me this said they'd just heard that from others. Of course, two separate people told me this, so there could be truth to it. Or just a widespread rumor.

Kennedy Center is ridiculous! It's the most massive performing arts structure I've ever seen...not sure if i really liked it or not, but it was undoubtedly very striking and impressive.

Dupont Circle was bustling...reading about the history/gentrification, it does make a lot of sense.

Chinatown was weird. And I'm a Chinese kid, if that means anything.

I thought the metro was terrific. Clean, comfortable, and easy to use.

It ranks high because there are a ton of things to walk to at ground level and the buildings are pedestrian oriented.

Last time I checked, walkscore didnt take any of the bolded parts into consideration.

ProjectMaximus

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 02:17:40 PM »
I just checked the walkscore site again, and here's what I found. Looks like they haven't updated their algorithm since summer (when I think I last looked).

Among the factors they do not consider:
"Pedestrian-friendly community design: Are buildings close to the sidewalk with parking in back? Are destinations clustered together?
Street width and block length: Narrow streets slow down traffic. Short blocks provide more routes to the same destination and make it easier to take a direct route.
Street design: Sidewalks and safe crossings are essential to walkability. Appropriate automobile speeds, trees, and other features also help."

Also:
"Distance: We are currently using "as the crow flies" distances rather than walking directions. This means if you live across the lake from a destination, we are assuming you will swim. And if you live in a subdivision with long curving streets with few intersections, we hope your neighbors don't mind you walking through their back yard."

Somehow, I doubt they consider whether the stores in their equation are on the ground level or not.

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2009, 04:46:36 PM »
Very Nice article, Im interested in transit!

thelakelander

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2009, 05:01:11 PM »
I just checked the walkscore site again, and here's what I found. Looks like they haven't updated their algorithm since summer (when I think I last looked).

Among the factors they do not consider:
"Pedestrian-friendly community design: Are buildings close to the sidewalk with parking in back? Are destinations clustered together?
Street width and block length: Narrow streets slow down traffic. Short blocks provide more routes to the same destination and make it easier to take a direct route.
Street design: Sidewalks and safe crossings are essential to walkability. Appropriate automobile speeds, trees, and other features also help."

Also:
"Distance: We are currently using "as the crow flies" distances rather than walking directions. This means if you live across the lake from a destination, we are assuming you will swim. And if you live in a subdivision with long curving streets with few intersections, we hope your neighbors don't mind you walking through their back yard."

Somehow, I doubt they consider whether the stores in their equation are on the ground level or not.

Indirectly, I think pedestrian oriented (I guess the better word would be compact) design/development plays a major factor.  If they are using "as the crow flies", more compact development would still result in higher numbers than sprawl oriented development.  However, you are right, stores being at ground level is certainly not a part of their data.
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Steve

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 05:06:44 PM »
Interesting that Jacksonville did so poorly as a whole, when they throw out what they don't take into account.  Imagine if they DID take that into account.

I wonder if they expect someone to walk across the intracostal or the river?

Seriously though, excellent Job.  Take particular note of the blends of new and old in DC.  The folks in Jacksonville say you can't do some of the VERY THINGS that the pictures above show.

thelakelander

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 05:18:19 PM »
One of the things that really stands out in DC is the blend of old and new.  I'm very impressed by what the DC design community has been able to create with limited space.  It was also nice to see older obsolete buildings being incorporated into larger projects.  It would have been great if we were able to do something like this with the public library and the old Rhodes Furniture Building.







Even glass boxes can be attractive







Also, my first time seeing a green gas station

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heights unknown

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 06:11:58 PM »
Wow; it does look like a European City.  What's up with the huge population loss in the last 30 years or more?

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thelakelander

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2009, 06:19:01 PM »
Probably a mixture of the same things that resulted in Jax's inner city population decline over the past fifty years.  A combination of white flight, growth of suburbanism, smaller household sizes, failed urban renewal projects and gentrification.

However, it appears that DC has bottomed out and turned the corner.  The city has added nearly 20,000 new residents since 2000.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 06:21:18 PM by thelakelander »
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vicupstate

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2009, 07:28:28 PM »
D.C. is indeed an incredible city. 

In the last 20 years it has made a remarkable turnaround.  After decades of horrible leadership from the wretchedly corrupt Marion Berry and the inept Sharon Pratt Kelly, the city's revival really began in ernest when those clowns exited stage left. 

It was not that long ago that DC was reknown for crime and murder more than jsut about anything except the mall/monuments.     
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jeh1980

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2009, 10:32:12 PM »
Interesting that Jacksonville did so poorly as a whole, when they throw out what they don't take into account. 
I wonder if they expect someone to walk across the intracostal or the river?

Seriously though, excellent Job.  Take particular note of the blends of new and old in DC.  The folks in Jacksonville say you can't do some of the VERY THINGS that the pictures above show.
I don't believe that Jacksonville would think like that. Besides, a part of downtown on the east of Hemming Plaza almost resemble a bit of D.C. architecture. But that's just my perspective.

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Re: Elements of Urbanism: Washington, DC
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2009, 12:23:53 AM »
I just moved back from DC to Florida last year.  I lived on 14th and E. Capitol St. in Capitol Hill.  It is truly a great city, with a number of different neighborhoods.  This is a great article, but I feel that DC's relationship with the region needs to be noted.  DC has around 600,000 residents, in a region with approximately 5 million residents.  There are many great TOD projects in Northern Virginia on the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that contribute to the region's vibrancy.  DC was planned by L'Enfant in 1791 and furthered by the McMillan Commission in 1901.  Gone are the days of platting entire towns at once (aside from select megaprojects).  Therefore, I feel that Jacksonville should look at programs instituted by Arlington County, Virginia and Montgomery County, MD.  Both are renowned for their successful use of TODs and TDRs.  The programs could become models for Jacksonville's suburbs.