Here’s our community calendar, where we’ll note our own events as well as events you might be interested in attending as an involved community member in Ward 3:
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Thinking through what, where, and how we build ensures that new development enhances what we already have and fits into a vision of what we want our community to be. Help us raise the bar on new development.
In the Trenches — Advocating for Smart Growth | October 24, 2012
On October 24, 2012 we held a panel discussion at the Tenley-Friendship Library entitled “In the Trenches – Advocating for Smart Growth. Andrew Aurbach, a Ward 3 resident and community activist, moderated. David Alpert, founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington (GGW), discussed how his blog came about and how it has contributed to raising the profile of smart growth issues and promoting dialogue about developments in the area. Ellen McCarthy, former head of the DC Office of Planning, talked about her perspective on advocacy as a former government official. She gave a list of rules for advocacy, one of which was to consider the context (e.g., ANC vs. Zoning Commission) for comments or testimony to ensure that advocates make the most compelling arguments. Ellen noted that GGW has provided a powerful medium for smart growth advocacy, such in connection with streetcar development. Jeff Davis, a neighbor turned activist, talked about his experience organizing members of the “silent majority” in the fight to redevelop the outdated Wisconsin Avenue Giant. He noted how his post on a listserv supporting the project blossomed into an organization that allowed advocates to unite and provide crucial community support by testifying at the Zoning Commission, among other actions.
The moderator urged audience members to follow the example of these panelists who have been “in the trenches” in support of a more walkable, bikeable, vibrant, and environmentally-responsible city. He called attention to several current opportunities, including the proposal for a mixed-use development at the former Babe’s site in Tenleytown and in connection with the zoning rewrite.
Ward 3 Vision assembled a panel of prominent activists, writers, and government officials to discuss the challenges and benefits of implementing Smart Growth principles to support vibrant, sustainable communities nationally and locally. The event, held on February 22, 2012 at the Tenley-Friendship Library featured:
- Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning and former Director of the Maryland Office of Smart Growth and the Environmental Protection Agency,
- Christopher Leinberger, The Brookings Institution,
- Roger Lewis, architect and columnist, The Washington Post, and
- Cheryl Cort, Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth.
Chris Leinberger talked about the need for walkable neighborhoods close to transit in order to fight car pollution and combat global warming. He cited research showing that property values increase in such neighborhoods more than in suburban-style neighborhoods. Roger Lewis discussed the importance of good neighborhood design for making areas vibrant and inviting, contrasting Columbia Heights with Van Ness. He also noted that height limits might be changed in some parts of DC to promote smart growth in those areas. Cheryl Cort discussed the importance of promoting public transportation, walking and biking as alternatives to car use. She characterized street parking as a scarce and expensive public resource that should be priced accordingly. Harriet Tregoning talked about demographic trends in DC, including population growth and increased use of transportation options other than cars and the need for development that is consistent with these changes.