DC Office of Planning

DC Office of Planning OP is the Mayor’s designated entity for planning in the District, providing resources, innovative solutions, community engagement & technical expertise.
(8)

The DC Office of Planning (OP) performs planning for neighborhoods, corridors, districts, historic preservation, public facilities, parks and open spaces, and individual sites in Washington, DC. In addition, OP engages in urban design, land use, and historic preservation review. OP also conducts historic resources research and community visioning, and manages, analyzes, maps, and disseminates spatial and US Census data.

Mission: The mission of the DC Office of Planning is to guide development of the District of Columbia, including the preservation and revitalization of our distinctive neighborhoods, by informing decisions, advancing strategic goals, encouraging the highest quality outcomes, and engaging all communities.

Operating as usual

Have you heard? OP is launching a Small Area Plan in Chevy Chase. Sign up for email notifications and share your thought...
12/14/2020

Have you heard? OP is launching a Small Area Plan in Chevy Chase. Sign up for email notifications and share your thoughts on the project boundary and socially distant engagement opportunities here: https://publicinput.com/chevychase.

D.C. History Conference
11/06/2020

D.C. History Conference

With one week left to #DCHistCon, our feature is Ward 1’s Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park. Take this opportunity to head to D.C.’s European-inspired urban park to enjoy the fall colors, waning autumn sun, and views of the city.

Meridian Hill Park was conceived and constructed in fits and starts over a 26-year period beginning in 1910. Located between 15th and 16th streets just beyond Florida Avenue, formerly Boundary Street, the park overlooks the city. Before construction of the park, the area was rural, interspersed with estates. The site itself was home to a post-Civil War African American settlement where some 200 long-standing free and recently-free Black people built a comfortable community.

Mary Henderson, a prominent developer and student of the City Beautiful Movement, wanted to beautify the outskirts of the city, create a “ceremonial gateway” into the capital along 16th St, and enhance her own real estate investment. With her husband, Henderson first developed their own imposing castle-type home followed by a series of mansions for wealthy residents and foreign legations. Using her connections, Henderson lobbied Congress to purchase the land, evict its inhabitants, and demolish their houses—replaced by a European-style park.

Inspired by formal Italian Renaissance gardens and taking advantage of the natural topography of Meridian Hill, architects George Burnap and Horace Peaslee, designed the park with a formal, upper terrace overlooking cascading falls. The lower park features a reflecting pool, plaza, wooded coves, and intimate gardens flanking the series of water basins. A massive retaining wall of exposed aggregate created by John J. Earley, encloses the park.

Completed in 1936, the park became a popular gathering place for city residents. Activists held civil rights rallies and staged demonstrations and marches on their way to the White House. It’s city legend that activist Angela Davis proposed the name Malcolm X Park. Never officially renamed, the park is referred to by both names.

In 1994 the park was designated a National Historic Landmark and in 2014, it was included in the National Register listed as Meridian Hill Historic District.

Learn more: https://linktr.ee/dchistcon
Register for the conference: https://bit.ly/dchistcon2020

D.C. History Conference
10/30/2020

D.C. History Conference

We are only two weeks out from #DCHistCon— so register today and visit Ward 2 with DC Office of Planning!

Have you ever wondered what made Foggy Bottom foggy? Why Constitution Ave exists? Why D.C. is where it is? Water created Ward 2. Rivers and creeks brought the earliest inhabitants, Native Americans, here over 10,000 years ago. Prior to good roads, almost everything and everybody came and went by water. In the 1700s, Georgetown’s harbor was one of the busiest in the region. Access to waterways later convinced George Washington in 1790, to locate the capital here. In the 1800s, downtown Washington grew around Center Market, established in 1801 along Tiber Creek, later the Washington Canal. Simple frame market buildings were replaced in 1872 with an imposing brick structure designed by architect Adolph Cluss (pictured). In executing the McMillan Plan, Center Market was demolished. Gradually, transportation moved to rail, roads, and later air. The canals became open sewers; the creeks became flood hazards. As the federal city grew, the waterways that shaped its geography were buried—now hidden beneath land, parks, and roads.

The importance of our waterways echoes throughout Ward 2. When we look at the warehouses dotting the Georgetown waterfront, we’re reminded of the role of water. Foggy Bottom, once home to working class immigrants building canals and working at the wharves during the 19th century, now house university students and professors (among others). Other reminders of the city’s former waterways include the Lockkeeper’s House on Constitution Avenue, a roadway which used to be a canal, and the Lincoln Memorial grounds and Hains Point: both infilled acres that were once in the Potomac River. We’re reminded when some of those buried creeks pay our basements a visit during heavy downpours.

To learn more about the history of Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, and Downtown, see our neighborhood history brochures. To read about the warehouses of Georgetown and some of the working-class alley houses of Foggy Bottom, see our Historic Alley Buildings Survey.

The Ward 2 Heritage Guide is in preparation. Stay tuned to OPinDC and DC HPO for the publication announcement. Special thanks to Streets of Washington. Learn more about Center Market here: http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2010/05/center-markets-chaotic-exuberance.html.

D.C. History Conference
10/26/2020

D.C. History Conference

There are just three weeks to our virtual D.C. History Conference! Register today for #DCHistCon, and take a trip to Ward 3 with the DC Office of Planning for a lesson in history, archaeology, and a quick preview of a conference session! bit.ly/dchistcon2020

In week 3, we investigate three archaeological sites and resources, united by location and theme around the fight to end slavery, its aftermath in the District, and the ensuing struggle for civil rights. Fort Reno Park, managed by the National Park Service includes green space, recreational fields, tennis courts, trails, and a bandstand. The park wraps around a hill, the highest elevation in the District, topped by a water supply reservoir and pumping complex managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The complex sits on the former location of the earthen Civil War defensive fortification, Fort Reno. The park occupies the former village of Reno City, a predominantly African American community established after the Civil War. Two schools are located east of the park - in the era of segregation Jesse Reno School served the African American children of Reno City and beyond, while Deal Elementary served local white children. Archaeological evidence provides a glimpse of life in Reno City over hundreds of years: including during the Civil War and of the original inhabitants of the land, Native American Indians, and their descendants.

In the early 20th century, Reno City was home to over 150 families – both white and black. Real estate companies and city officials seeking to end integrated neighborhoods forcibly dismantled the neighborhood. Land was seized by eminent domain to create the park and to build new white schools. Houses and business were razed. Non-invasive archaeological techniques such as ground-penetrating radar revealed traces of the community’s streets, utilities, and house lots beneath the surface. We hope that future investigations will help tell the story of this community forcibly erased from the landscape.

Learn more about Reno City at the DC History Conference on Friday evening, Nov. 13, at the panel presentation “DC History and Justice Collective: Remembering Reno City with Students, Teachers, Parents, and Community Members.”

Learn more about any of these topics here: linktr.ee/dchistcon.

D.C. History Conference
10/19/2020

D.C. History Conference

It’s FOUR weeks until #DCHistCon, and our weekly feature with the Office of Planning is Ward 4’s Rock Creek Church Cemetery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DC cemeteries, like the Rock Creek Church Cemetery, have reported increased visitation as outdoor spaces have become essential for socially distant gatherings. Over 300 years old, this historic site was formed along with an Anglican Chapel of Ease in 1719 to serve the Colonial-era Rock Creek Parish.

Rock Creek Church Cemetery is DC’s oldest burial ground, and is, in fact, one of the oldest active Colonial cemeteries in the United States. The grounds include St. Paul’s Church, established in 1719 and rebuilt most recently in 1922, the parish hall (1928), gate house (1904), watchman’s house (1941) service building (1936), and of course extensive burials - all surrounded by historic fences and gates.

The Cemetery represents each of the FOUR major periods of cemetery design and development. From its origins as a simple churchyard burial ground with graves arranged in tight rows by the church, Rock Creek Church Cemetery has evolved to encompass the tenets of the Rural Cemetery Movement, the Lawn Park Movement, and the more recent Memorial Park typology.

The Cemetery is also the home of some of the District’s masterpieces of sculpture. FOUR of the many outstanding works of art are: Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ The Mystery of the Hereafter and the Peace of God that Passeth Understanding, Gutzon Borglum’s Rabboni, Brenda Putnam’s Simon family memorial, and Adolph Weinman’s Spencer family memorial. FOUR notable burials are Charles Truman Jenkins, who invented the television; Alice Roosevelt Longworth, writer, influencer, and celebrity daughter of Teddy Roosevelt; and authors John Updike and Gore Vidal.

Looking for an outdoor and social distanced activity this fall? The Cemetery grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday – Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. - including holidays.

Learn more here: https://linktr.ee/dchistcon.

D.C. History Conference
10/09/2020

D.C. History Conference

With five weeks to #DCHistCon the DC Office of Planning and DC Historic Preservation Office bring us to Ward 5 to learn about Gallaudet University!

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the bill which established the National Deaf-Mute College located today in Ward 5 of Washington, D.C. The creation of the school was motivated by activists, including Edward Minder Gallaudet, who advocated for the education of deaf children. The name of the school was changed to Gallaudet College in 1894 to honor Gallaudet as founding superintendent and first president. Gallaudet University is now one of the foremost educational facilities in the world for the deaf community. In 2014, Gallaudet University celebrated the 150th anniversary of its authorization by Congress to confer college degrees.

The historic campus core is the Gallaudet College Historic District — a National Historic Landmark — comprised of the several purpose-built brick Victorian Gothic Revival buildings in a setting planned by Olmstead, Vaux, and Co. in 1866. The primary structures were the Chapel, and the Presidents House, both individual landmarks as well. A traditional-looking Gothic college campus surrounds the campus green. Students nicknamed the green “Kendall Green” in honor of Amos Kendall, a former U.S Postmaster General who donated the original two acres of land for the school. Overtime, buildings on campus have served various academic functions, and additional, contemporary faculty houses and buildings have been added to campus.

For more on Ward 5, check out the Ward 5 Heritage Guide. For much of its history, Ward 5 was predominantly populated by white middle-class workers seeking neighborhoods with a suburban feel. However, starting in the 1950s, the courts outlawed restrictive covenants which had kept these neighborhoods in Ward 5 white. Black families seeking homeownership and affordable housing moved into the ward and by 1960, 54% of the Ward was Black. Today, Ward 5 is a major site of redevelopment and gentrification in the city, increasingly attracting young professionals critiqued for contributing to the gentrification of the ward.

For information on any of these topics, visit: https://linktr.ee/dchistcon.

D.C. History Conference
10/02/2020

D.C. History Conference

As October begins, we are just six weeks out from the conference — so we’re visiting Ward 6 with the DC Office of Planning!

It’s not ironic that modernist structures can be historic! Ward 6 features numerous examples of modernist architecture. In the post World War II era, federal officials and developers implemented federal policies using the term “urban renewal” to justify the massive redevelopment of Southwest DC. As block after block of buildings were demolished (image 2), residents were forced from their neighborhoods to resettle elsewhere. Brick and frame row houses were replaced by a mix of apartment buildings and townhouses. Prominent architects and landscape architects designed Modernist federal office buildings and housing bounded by parks and green spaces. Modernist architecture is now preserved as historic itself, but for many, its history and design symbolize the displacement of D.C. communities, particularly Black residents. Modernist buildings in Southwest include Arena Stage, Department of Housing and Urban Development (1), Skyline Hotel (3), and Town Center Park (4) exhibiting different forms of modernism.

Until 2010, Southwest was a primarily residential neighborhood of working and middle class families, with a fringe of riverfront industry, invigorated by a strong sense of community. In the last decade, new mixed developments moved to Ward 6, adding office buildings, apartments, condos, a soccer stadium, and the Wharf community. This area of the District has become increasingly young and white and a booming center of nightlife and traffic.

There’s more to Ward 6 than we can include in a single post, from Southwest to Navy Yard, Capitol Hill, Mount Vernon Square, and Shaw — 25% of the area is protected now by historic districts. To learn more about historic landmarks and beloved community sites, check out the Ward 6 Heritage Guide. For more on the communities that lived in Southwest prior to Urban Renewal, see Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum's online A Right to the City exhibit.

Find more resources: https://linktr.ee/dchistcon.

D.C. History Conference
09/25/2020

D.C. History Conference

The Historic Preservation Office is counting us down to #DCHistCon. Just 7 weeks until the conference means we visit Ward 7! What makes Ward 7 special to you?

In Ward 7, the Eastland Gardens neighborhood is a distinctly D.C., verdant community. The core of the neighborhood consists of owner-occupied single family homes. African-American architects individually designed the homes for an emerging Black middle class between 1929-1955. Community members founded the Eastland Gardens Flower Club in 1956 which became the glue that united this community. Now part of the Eastland Gardens Civic Association, Flower Club members continue to plan annual activities to inspire civic pride, beautify the neighborhood, and foster community investment through planting and maintaining public spaces. Members pursued a DCCHP grant to document the club’s history. Their successful project resulted in the publication of the book “Images of America Eastland Gardens” in 2011. Eastland Gardens is now featured on the African American Heritage Trail.

Other sites featured in the Ward 7 Guide include Anacostia Park, Fort Dupont, DC’s smallest house, First Baptist Church of Deanwood, Woodlawn Cemetery, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and Marvin Gaye Park.

You can find links for more information here: https://linktr.ee/dchistcon.

D.C. History Conference
09/21/2020

D.C. History Conference

We're counting down the eight weeks to #DCHistCon by highlighting ward history in partnership with the Historic Preservation Office — starting with Ward Eight! For more information, find the link in our bio!

Built in 1947, Carver Theater (2405 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE) was the only African American theater in all of Ward Eight, and it‘a now a local heritage resource. The site is well-known for housing the Anacostia Community Museum (@smithsonianacm) until its permanent home on Fort Place was constructed. Founded by the Smithsonian Institution as the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in 1967, the museum's collaboration with local activists and community members resulted in a new kind of museum — one focusing on local African American history, with input from the community on community issues, local history, and the arts. Today Carver Theater is home to the Community College Preparatory Academy Public Charter School. See the Ward 8 Heritage Guide linked here to learn more about heritage sites in Ward Eight, including those featured on the African American Heritage Trail.

This series also honors Patsy Mose Fletcher, who, as HPOs Outreach Coordinator, prepared the Ward Heritage Guide series. She reached deep into the community to compile lists of heritage resources valued at the neighborhood level — sites which might otherwise be overlooked by outsiders. Each guide describes the ward’s historical development, shows recognized historic properties, and identifies other sites that may be significant to local culture, in addition to discussing potential strategies for increasing appreciation and protection of community heritage. Ms. Fletcher helped establish the DC Community Heritage Program, a joint program of the DC Humanities Council and the HPO, and posthumously received an inaugural award as a “Cultural Hero” for leadership supporting community history and heritage activities across the District. The Humanities Council named the award program in her honor: “Patsy Fletcher Cultural Heritage Award.” Ms. Fletcher was the author of the 2015 History Press book “Historically African American Leisure Destinations Around Washington D.C.” Ward 8 Heritage Guide:https://planning.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/op/page_content/attachments/Ward%208%20Heritage%20Guide%20FINAL%20Revised.pdf

Address

1100 4th St SW
Washington D.C., DC
20024

Waterfront-SEU Metrorail Station on the Green Line

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 17:00
Thursday 08:30 - 17:00
Friday 08:30 - 17:00

Telephone

(202) 442-7600

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when DC Office of Planning posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to DC Office of Planning:

Videos

Nearby government services