“Neighborhoods Go Green” – The Warf: Southwest Waterfront, DC

Last week I wrote about my time at a panel discussion and reception put on by the U.S. Green Building Council to promote the “Neighborhoods Go Green” exhibit (in town until April, 21st at the American Institute of Architects).

Image courtesy of: www.swdcwaterfront.com

There were a few local projects discussed by the panel, but for me the one that stood out was The Warf: Southwest Waterfront project. A pilot project for the LEED: Neighborhood Development program, the stated goal of which is to “Reconnect Washington, DC with it’s waterfront”. Though the goal is a great one that I find exciting for Washington, DC, and I believe it will be successful, it is the method that I am most excited about.

The partners in the project, P.N. Hoffman and Madison Marquette are not looking to simply remove the barriers to the waterfront, but to actually make it a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike. The overall plan looks to accomplish LEED: Neighborhood Development certification, which means it is not only being designed with energy efficiency in mind, but also transportation, walk-ability, economic diversity, and so much more. The intent is to provide a self sustaining locale where residents can live, work, dine, shop, and play, all without ever getting into their car. This is meant to be true for all income brackets with the availability of affordable housing all the way up to high luxury and everything in between.

In my opinion this is the future in America as we reconsider quality of life, work life balance, and long term sustainability. I will also say that, having lived in Boston as the “Big Dig” came to an end, I have seen first hand how creating easier access to a city’s waterfront can create a dramatic transformation. That, however, was simply a traffic project. The Warf: Southwest Waterfront project, along with many others along the Anacostia, will mean so much more for our great city.

Ground is expected to be broken on the project in 2012, with the first deliverable portions of the effort coming in 2015. Total project completion is set for 2020.

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