In case the photos weren’t enough, here is a minute long video of the installation process!
In case the photos weren’t enough, here is a minute long video of the installation process!
Closing in on our second to last summer intern meeting, Rich, Ben, and I gathered around the conference table to enjoy some mango and rabbit-shaped graham crackers, with our fearless leader, Vanessa. These weekly rendezvous have been a chance for interns and staff to discuss goals and successes, obstacles and setbacks – to celebrate and troubleshoot together. Sadly, David Krieger’s last day in the office was Wednesday. But soon we should have a new Community Director to spearhead our community initiatives.
Vanessa is actively searching for fall interns to help spearhead our working groups around resource efficiency and building improvements, green infrastructure and stormwater, innovative and sustainable economic development, and urban agriculture and local food. We are also looking for people interested in working on public art and space projects. Fall is looking to be a very busy time – and part of the adventure is meeting and working with new people.
Summer has been an amazing time as we get to understand the history and present-day context of Gowanus and South Brooklyn, brainstorm with our neighbors and experts during the community innovation workshop, and begin building coalitions around community priorities. We have accomplished quite a bit in the past few months, but there is still much to do to make our vision a reality. Our next steps include forming working groups, building up relationships with businesses and residents of Gowanus, and going after sponsorship and financial support for longer-term operations in the neighborhood. We are confident that with the continued support from the community we’ll be able to see this vision through, creating a livable city one block at a time.
On July 30, Living City DC 14th & U launches a project on the grounds of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments to create a community garden. The garden will create a welcoming space for residents and the community to meet and will give the Paul Laurence Dunbar residents access to fresh flowers and produce. To do this, Living City DC has partnered with dc greenworks.
This community garden serves many purposes concurrently. At face value, as a garden, it is a convenient source of interaction with nature and plants for the seniors living in the apartments, as well as a source of fresh produce. It also allows for young people in the community to build something of value within their own neighborhood, and provides a space for people from all parts of the LCDC 14th & U community to meet with the residents of the Dunbar Apartments.
In order to make this project a success, we need your help!
RSVP via our Facebook Event
JAIR LYNCH Development Partners and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Residents Association, Inc. are jointly redeveloping the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments. The two organizations jointly purchased the property in June of 2010 and refinanced it in June of 2011 with low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds in order to maintain it as affordable senior housing. JAIR LYNCH Development Partners is an urban regeneration company that specializes in the responsible transformation of urban markets.
As part of my internship with Living City DC 14th & U, I’m looking at the potential for bringing large-scale green roofing to the neighborhood. “Green roofing” is a broad term that can take many different forms, but it simply means installing plants on a building’s roof. Depending on how the plants are set up, the green roof could provide a host of benefits, from improving air quality and helping to deal with storm water, to energy savings and even the potential for growing food.
In my work, I am creating a comprehensive analysis of green roofing and what it takes to bring green roofs to buildings at Living City DC 14th & U. My study involves all aspects of the process and the environmental and cost impacts of green roof systems.
The major benefit of a green roof system is that it brings the attributes of nature back into a developed space. Green roofing will be beneficial both for the immediate 14th & U Street neighborhood and the city as a whole. Locally, a green roof would act as a layer of insulation on top of the buildings, preventing heat loss during the winter and acting as a buffer against solar radiation in the summer. This translates to significant energy savings over the course of the life of the building. Green roofs also help to improve air quality by removing prominent air pollutants, such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide.
The District as a whole will benefit from green roofing as part of its strategy to address the issue of storm water runoff. When rain falls in urban areas, concrete and buildings prevent the water from being absorbed in to the soil, as it would in a forest. As a result the water moves along the street and through the storm water system. During periods of high rainfall, this untreated water overflows into local waterways. Green roofs allow for water retention, reducing the burden on the District’s combined storm water and sewer system and reducing overflow into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. Green roofing will have a direct positive impact on the water quality of the District.
On July 23, Living City DC 14th & U launches a project on the grounds of the Dunbar Towers Apartments to create a community garden. The community garden will sit on what has been an underused shuffleboard site. The gardens will create a welcoming space for residents and the community to meet and will give the Dunbar Towers Apartments access to fresh flowers and hopefully even produce. To do this, Living City DC has partnered with dc greenworks, the One City Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), Jair Lynch Developers, and Paul Laurence Dunbar Resident’s Association.
dc greenworks is a non-profit organization that works to grow livable, sustainable communities here in the District. They have partnered with LCDC 14th & U and designed the gardens for the Dunbar Towers Apartments, which will be contained in raised planters to allow residents to grow and maintain the gardens while sitting, rather than bending down. dc greenworks is also a leading DC resource for green roofs and rain gardens, which serve to reduce hard surfaces around homes and other buildings.
LCDC 14th & U will also rely on youth from the SYEP. SYEP is open to young adults ages 14-21 every year, and provides temporary summer employment. SYEP offers youth a chance to earn money, gain skills, and expand interest in new careers. LCDC 14th & U has arranged for 12 youth directly from the from the community to assist with developing and maintaining the community garden at the Dunbar Towers Apartments for between now and August, where they will help with building and planting in the raised boxes. The SYEP programs is managed by Deborah Thomas, the LCDC 14th & U Director of Community Outreach and an ANC 1B Commissioner.
This community garden serves many purposes concurrently. At face value, as a garden, it is a convenient source of interaction with nature and plants for the seniors living in the buildings, as well as a source of fresh produce for residents of the Dunbar Towers Apartments. It also allows for young people in the community to build something of value within their own neighborhood, and bring people from parts of the LCDC 14th & U larger community into contact with the residents of The Dunbar Apartment.
In order to make this project a success, we need your input! Here is how to get involved:
Saturday July 23, 2011 at 10 AM
At Dunbar Towers
2001 15th St NW Washington, DC 20009
Thanks to dc greenworks, Jair Lynch Developers, and Paul Laurence Dunbar Resident’s Association for cosponsoring this community garden with Living City DC 14th & U!
To learn more about Living City DC, dc greenworks, or other programs in this blog, check out these websites!
You are reading this because you have an interest in the 14th and U area. Perhaps you have lived here all your life, or maybe only the last few years. Maybe you don’t live in the area but have some other reason to want this historically vibrant neighborhood returned to its former glory. LCDC 14th & U is working to help make that happen. The question is, how can you stay up to date on ways to volunteer, or keep abreast of all of the work going on in the area?
There are a number of ways to be involved:
If you would like to stay abreast of the progress in the various Living City Block projects be sure to check out: (these would all be hyper links)
Living City D.C. 14th & U comprises two blocks made up of new development, older affordable housing structures, a large District of Columbia municipal government building, a dozen restaurants and night clubs, and a historic but diminished African American middle class neighborhood. The project footprint includes the areas between 13th and 15th streets and U and V.
After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., riots burned down a great deal of the local businesses. The area was then in steady decline through the 1980s. According to Ruble, “Between 1984 and 1989, the proportion of arrested adults testing positive for cocaine increased by 43% […] A cocaine kingpin, Rayful Edmond III, ran the city’s most notorious gang of the era nearby.”
In the last decade, U Street has seen a true economic resurgence. Retailers are coming back to the community and it has an active hospitality sector. As U Street returns to its former glory, it is imperative that we remember its past. Living City D.C. 14th & U: once sustainable, sustainable again.