Thursday, June 09, 2016

David Rotenstein: "A Washington neighborhood uses history to plan its future"

First, see this tweet from historian David Rotenstein: 

David Rotenstein@iVernacular                         
A Washington neighborhood uses history to plan its future | National Council on Public History
8:37 AM - 9 Jun 2016

And here is his post.
Click on the link to read the entire post by David Rotenstein at the website of the National Council on Public History:

A Washington neighborhood uses history to plan its future

09 June 2016 – David Rotenstein

community history, preservation, public engagement, race

Residents of Washington, D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood are using history to plan for the gentrifying area’s future. Through a process of collaborative research and land use planning, they hope to mitigate the adverse effects of displacement, rising housing costs, and the loss of a sense of community. On a rainy Saturday in late May, the Bloomingdale Civic Association (BCA) convened a forum in a former D.C. firehouse to present the results of oral history and documentary research and to unveil conceptual drawings for inclusive neighborhood improvements.

Building on a $2,500 HumanitiesDC grant, the BCA organized a team of resident volunteers who recorded 22 interviews and produced a 35-minute video. Others dug into area archives and memories to create an illustrated timeline [PDF] documenting Bloomingdale’s history. Resident architects and planners gathered input on local land use desires and produced renderings [PDF] for potential new parks, community art projects, and other amenities. Bloomingdale resident Dr. Bertha Holliday, a psychologist, coordinated the study and described the project as one that “combines psychology and design.”

In an interview after the forum, I asked Holliday why it was so important to dig so deeply into Bloomingdale’s history. “We were responding to two recommendations by the Office of Planning,” she replied. “One was strengthening a sense of community and the other one was in terms of strengthening a sense of place. And we thought that by dealing with issues of history and heritage, that was a primary means for strengthening a sense of community identity.”

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