Downtown Public Realm Plan
Downtown Public Realm Plan
Downtown has long been the economic heart of the District – a center of bustling activity and vibrant public spaces filled with people at all hours of the daytime. However, the Covid-19 public health emergency upended how we live and work and brought about significant economic changes to downtowns across the country. Today, we are at an inflection point with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine Downtown’s public parks and streetscapes into vibrant and inclusive community spaces for a range of users. Through a renewed focus on people-centric urban design, we seek to reinvigorate support for retail services and business development, as well as inspire a transformation into a Living Downtown fit for new residents, families and workers alike.
Working closely with local leaders, Business Improvement Districts, government agencies, and public stakeholders, we seek to craft a bold new vision for the future of our Downtown’s public spaces by promoting equitable, inclusive, and sustainable activities and designs. Improved streetscapes and better access to pedestrian amenity space and parks can also facilitate the shift to additional residential units in the downtown core by prioritizing both future residents and existing office workers. Together we can shift the paradigm of an office-centric downtown into a collection of inclusive mixed-use neighborhoods where we mingle with neighbors, allow children to play and grow, and have a front row seat to the vibrant cultural heritage of our city as we return to a thriving Downtown.
Downtown DC Public Realm Survey
The DC Office of Planning is conducting a study on ways to improve the public spaces that make up Downtown DC and we need your input! We would like to hear from you on ways to better preserve or improve the public spaces in ways that can make the Downtown neighborhoods more friendly, vibrant, and inclusive for people of all ages and all walks of life. Using this input, OP and Gehl Studios will compile a list of short- and long-term recommendations and conceptual projects for consideration to revitalize and enhance public life Downtown.
This survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Please take a moment to complete it, and then share with all of your friends and neighbors!
The Downtown Public Realm Plan, part of the Mayor's Comeback Strategy, is an effort to re-envision the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and parks of the downtown core to better support a people-centric, vibrant, and inclusive neighborhood in Downtown DC. As we anticipate up to 15,000 new residents and expanded job and retail opportunities by 2028, we are looking to draft a series of recommendations to improve the public spaces in a way that reflects the values and needs of District residents and better connects Downtown to the broader city so that all may feel welcome.
What is a Public Life Study?
Public life is about the everyday activities that people naturally take part in when they spend time with each other outside their homes, workplaces, and cars. Public life studies analyze observed human behavior in shared spaces to inform policy, regulations, and public space design.
Click here for more information on previous Office of Planning-led public life initiatives.
Existing Conditions Report
- Data Collection and Research
Public Life Study
- Walking Tours
- Public Life Snapshot and Assessment
- Data Compilation
Vision Framework - Draft
- Draft Recommendations and Public Input
- Conceptual Projects for Implementation