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:
The article 9 Ways to Build Better Cities Through Public Places and its sequel, Part 2, list many strategies that maximize the value of public parks to local residents.
These strategies can inform the steps that APACC members can take to work with residents, District agencies and partner organizations to improve our neighborhoods.