How does a historic, monumental city with a defined border and building-height limit accommodate the influx of another 150,000 people over the next two decades?
For District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and planning director Erik Shaw, who spoke at an event at the Howard Theater, a major part of the answer is adaptive reuse, which involves transforming a building or site into some new use it wasn’t originally designed for.
This approach enables cities to preserve some of the original character and feel of a place while updating it for contemporary realities.
Washington, D.C. has gained in population since 2000, when it hit a low-point of 572,000. The city now has 658,000 residents.
Since 2000, there has been 150 million square feet of new development, much of it in the city’s 46 historic districts, to accommodate all the new residents, up to 1,000 people per month.