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Old 04-24-2012, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
709 posts, read 913,774 times
Reputation: 550

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As part of DC's new sustainable vision plan, DC is laying the groundwork to become the most liveable, sustainable, and healthiest city in the US. The city plans to attract 250,000 net new residents by 2032. I'm excited there is now an official population goal that residents and the development community can rally around. I've been advocating for this as a public policy goal in my own writings and research for about a year now. DC is definitely thinking big with this plan. Even if all the elements of the plan are not realized, the plan should serve the city well as it can use the elements of the plan to redefine the city-wide comprehensive plan, update zoning codes, and guide land use around transit stations. The biggest element is that DC needs a much higher residential population (it's not a matter of want) to sustain itself economically and to remedy the fiscal structural imbalance that exists as outlined in the General Accounting Office report that came out in 2003.

I'm elated that DC is finally beginning to better integrate all the different aspects of planning (transportation, land-use, sustainability, etc) to further move the city up on the global cities list.

So, can DC even hold 250,000 additional residents? It most certainly can. DC has the bones to be a 1 million+ city (at least) and also to move up the list of the most densely populated cities in the country over 250,000 residents. I say this having studied and examined the city's land-use and capacity, and the numbers are indeed there. This isn't pie-in-the-sky. Adding this amount of people isn't even dependent on increasing the height limit as we can attain that population with available vacant land and underutilized existing properties.

If DC does gain 250,000 net new residents by 2032, it's population would be 868,000 with an average density of over 14,000 people per square mile.

Some other aspects of the 2032 plan:
+ To have 75% of all trips made by biking, walking, and mass transit
+ To make all of DC's waterways swimmable and fishable
+ To expand the bike lane network and associated facilities
+ To bring more green jobs to DC and diversify the economic base

You can read the plan here:
Scribd

And news coverage here:
Gray to unveil D.C. sustainability plan - The Washington Post

And the GAO Structural Imbalance report here:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03666.pdf

Last edited by revitalizer; 04-24-2012 at 04:44 PM..
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Macao
16,087 posts, read 38,433,774 times
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That would be cool.

Cities are always setting goals like this though...depends on so many other factors.

But, it's great that it's a goal.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:50 PM
 
Location: London, NYC, DC
1,118 posts, read 2,074,256 times
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DC once had a population of almost 900,000. I don't see why that couldn't happen again. We need to drastically improve our infrastructure, though, if this is to work.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:53 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,526,534 times
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I don't really know why more people is good or bad. It's just more people. I wouldn't say L.A. is inherently better because of its millions more people. We can have all the good things you list with 650,000 people just as easily as 850,000.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
709 posts, read 913,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
I don't really know why more people is good or bad. It's just more people. I wouldn't say L.A. is inherently better because of its millions more people. We can have all the good things you list with 650,000 people just as easily as 850,000.
Here are a few reasons that come to mind as to why a higher population is beneficial:

1. In order to pay for infrastructure upgrades (transit, parks, bike lanes, environmental remediation of waterways, water and sewage upgrades and such), we definitely need a larger tax base (ie the feds don't provide enough funding to DC to accomplish this alone).

2. DC needs more residents to overcome the $500 million to $1 billion annual fiscal structural imbalance that exists, partly due to the city's large amount of non-taxable land. I estimate that the city could reach parity as it approaches 1 million residents.

3. More residents living in DC will encourage more retail and reduce the need for residents to go out of the city to shop. DC is severely under-retailed. DC would have to add about 7 million square feet of retail to reach an average amount of retail space per capita.

4. An increase of 250,000 residents represents a major percentage increase in population for DC (An increase to 868,000 residents from the current population is a 29% increase). This would be a major boost as most of those new residents would be putting more in the DC treasury than taking from it.

The above are all sound economic reasons for supporting a population increase. Now, I'm sure people will have their other reasons for or against. The economic argument is the one I support since I would like to see DC prosper long-term and since the reasons why have been well documented. A significantly higher tax base would usher in less dependence on the federal government (no, I don't believe in leaching off the feds for the things we do now), which would also reshape people's view of our jurisdiction.

Lastly, having a city that people want to move to and become a part of the local vibe is just cool. I find it extremely interesting that after decades of population loss, DC is putting itself in the position to regain all that back plus more in half the time it took to lose the population in the first place.

Last edited by revitalizer; 04-24-2012 at 10:08 PM..
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:21 PM
 
4,955 posts, read 3,528,398 times
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depending on how advanced i will be in my career, i will be thinking about moving back to the DC metro area around 2020. and, this time, it will be IN washington, and not the nightmare that is northern va. im a civil engineer - there just might be tons of opportunties by that time, what with this 'plan' in action.....

id say that if you want to achieve such a high goal of non-automobile trips, you might have to study the possibility of running a new metro line connecting the spurs of the Red Line. something like that might be in the plan - i will check it out later, eagerly!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Macao
16,087 posts, read 38,433,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
I don't really know why more people is good or bad. It's just more people. I wouldn't say L.A. is inherently better because of its millions more people. We can have all the good things you list with 650,000 people just as easily as 850,000.
I'm a bigger fan of people.

Safety in numbers.

The safest place I've ever been in the U.S., is Manhattan, New York City. When you have that many people walking around absolutely everywhere, all the time, there is a comfort in that.

It's those near deserted parking lots, or walking down streets that you never see people ever walk down, that feel the strangest.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:37 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,526,534 times
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I'm not inherently against more people. I just think you're assuming a lot about those people and what they'll bring or take from the city that may or may not be true. Consider:

Milwaukee, Baltimore, and El Paso have about the same population as DC.
Detroit has about 100,000 more people than DC and, until recently, had more people than San Francisco.
Jacksonville has about 200,000 more people than DC.

None of these cities strike me as particularly aspirational. I realize they're structurally and geographically different, but my only point was that more people is not inherently beneficial to the other goals you expressed.

@Tiger Beer - you're talking more about density, not really population. You can have a much smaller city than New York and have people walking around at all hours if you design your city right.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:24 AM
 
2,149 posts, read 3,772,151 times
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So where are these people going to live? How much space is there left to build more condos and apartments?
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:31 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,874 posts, read 11,334,378 times
Reputation: 2575
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
.
Jacksonville has about 200,000 more people than DC.

@Tiger Beer - you're talking more about density, not really population. You can have a much smaller city than New York and have people walking around at all hours if you design your city right.

Thats the point though. Jax expanded by annexing Duval County (technically consolidating with it). DC's borders are fixed - the addtional 250k represents additional density.

Its also good for the planet - that many people at urban densities use less energy than otherwise.
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