This school year, I’m working on a series of projects relating to my neighborhood of Southwest Waterfront. Since this semester’s work is with a team of other students less familiar with the neighborhood, I’ll be posting resources about the neighborhood on a periodic basis, which you can easily find using the swdc tag.
A few months ago, I gave a short presentation to CNU-DC based on a summertime walk around the neighborhood. Note that this covers only the Waterfront residential neighborhood, not the Southwest Rectangle (Federal Center & L’Enfant Plaza) office precinct north of I-395. You can download the PowerPoint or take a look at the photos on Flickr.
There are also a lot of great, easy-to-use online resources. I particularly like:
- Cultural Tourism DC’s neighborhood walking tour booklet (download the PDF from the “booklet” link
- Descriptions of the area’s historic landscape architecture from the Cultural Landscape Foundation
- The L’Enfant Plaza article on Wikipedia is actually pretty serious scholarship
- Will, a local blogger, keeps very close tabs on neighborhood developments (with intelligent commentary) at Southwest, the Little Quadrant that Could (he also writes for the local Southwester newspaper, which has difficult to search online archives
- The defunct Built Southwest blog offers more architectural and historical context
- Local real estate news blog DCMud covers development metro-wide, including the evolution of current plans for Southwest
- The local Southwest Neighborhood Assembly has a brief history, fun facts, and links to the various residential complexes
- Other resources of note: a recent Post article about River Park, a UMd studio report [large PDF] about the historic merits of a few remaining blocks of pre-renewal urban fabric, and a brief overview article [from the same guy who wrote the CLF articles] about the history of the modernist parks [page 9 of this PDF]
An extensive collection of original documents related to urban renewal in Washington can be found at the Washingtoniana Collection, on the third floor of the MLK Library at Gallery Place.