Living downtown in Washington, D.C. : defining residential community in the city center
Author(s)Allen, Robin P. (Robin Porter)
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In Washington D.C., as in many other American cities, a significant section of the downtown is distinguished by boarded-up buildings and vacant lots. In spite of traces of a city plan that could organize and accommodate a variety of activities in the central core, downtown Washington is under used. The eastern section of the downtown, where the majority of decrepit buildings and vacant lots are located, is inhabited primarily by office-workers on weekdays and a small number of tourists on weekends. After working hours the area is virtually devoid of people. Currently there is very little housing downtown. Recently, however, three large mixed-use residential buildings have been constructed in the eastern portion of the downtown. These projects were developed by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (Pfc) as part of a comprehensive plan for the economic and physical revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue and its environs. The popular success of these buildings shows that people in Washington are interested in living downtown. It is the premise of this thesis that introducing residential use to the downtown would improve the liveliness of the area which I believe is important for the future vitality of the city. But how should residential use be introduced to this area where large block-sized office buildings and federal institutions have transformed the previous pattern of blocks made up of smaller buildings and cut by alleys to admit light and access? The sizes and orientation appropriate for residential use are different from those suitable for commercial and institutional use . A problem with the PADC's approach to developing a residential presence downtown is that the blocks and building masses are treated in much the same way for residences as they are for commercial and institutional buildings. To include residential use in the commercial, monumental sector of the city requires a street and block pattern that can be adapted to accommodate large and small buildings. This pattern can be deployed to establish a finer-grained network of residential use within the structure of the commercial, monumental city. The result of this pattern would be an identifiable residential area supporting the physical and social needs of the residents.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1995.Includes bibliographical references (p. 71-73).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology