"Reimagining the Civic Commons" - 9 Ways to Build Better Cities Through Public Places

(c)KristaSchlyer Anacostia-121.jpg

The Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative is interested in the role that Anacostia Park and other open spaces in Ward 7 and Ward 8 of the District can play in improving our communities. We believe that the Anacostia River and its waterfront parks, as well as our other neighborhood parks, can provide immense benefits to residents if improved in the right way.

Parks can improve public health, bring communities closer together and improve economic outcomes for residents. The improvement of parks can also be tied to neighborhood plans for equitable development, which means ensuring that low-income residents who have lived in the area for a long time won’t be displaced as parks (and the rest of the neighborhood) are improved.

We aren’t the only people thinking like this. Four big foundations recently put $40 million into a project called Reimagining the Civic Commons that leverages “the power of the civic commons to produce increased and more equitably shared prosperity” in four U.S. cities. After working in several cities since 2016, this project has published some lessons-learned that apply very much to us here in the District.

The 11th Street Bridge Park is a member of APACC and was featured in an article by Reimagining the Civic Commons. Scott Kratz, the Bridge Park’s director, is quoted:

Park designers should consistently ask themselves ‘who is this park for?’ At the 11th Street Bridge Park we’re focused on the surrounding neighborhoods. Long term residents who have been through the challenging times should have the opportunity to enjoy these new civic amenities. It’s critical to set clear deliverables for your equity investments to ensure local residents can stay and thrive in place. What gets measured, gets done!
— Scott Kratz, director, 11th Street Bridge Park
Rendering by OMA+OLIN.

Rendering by OMA+OLIN.