The trending evidence seems crystal clear, especially for those who have resided in Washington long enough to remember when so many parts of the city east of Rock Creek Park were deemed physically derelict and unsafe; when there were few decent restaurants; and when families were fleeing to the suburbs. Today, many once-derelict areas — U Street NW, 14th Street NW, Columbia Heights, Shaw, H Street NE, Capitol Hill, the Southeast Waterfront — have been transformed or are undergoing transformation.
Owing to ambitious, visionary public- and private-sector initiatives coupled with historically unique resources, D.C. as a whole will be a transformed city in a generation. It will possess an enviable array of civic, cultural, commercial and recreational opportunities and amenities — parks, museums, libraries, performance and entertainment venues, shopping destinations, sports facilities — unmatched by most American cities.
Today’s troubled D.C. primary and secondary educational system will have been substantially improved, in part because of steady growth in the number and quality of public charter schools. Indeed, every D.C. student may be attending a charter school in the not-too-distant future. Significant advances in teaching methodology, technology and resources, and in teacher quality and capability, will enhance the effectiveness of urban education.
The capital’s physical environment will be greatly improved because city agencies, public utility providers and private property owners will have taken measures to solve or alleviate current environmental problems, some of which are already being addressed.
The city’s systems for water treatment and distribution, sewage collection and treatment and storm water management will perform more effectively and sustainably. Polluted runoff into streams and rivers will decrease dramatically because of greatly increased storm water retention and filtration. This will be the result of new storm water storage structures being built by DC Water, more green roofs throughout the city, preserved parkland, vegetated urban open spaces and bioswales and the use of more pervious paving.
Public pressure will motivate Pepco and Washington Gas to continue upgrading their systems and customer services. Most notable in the coming decades will be new technologies and equipment enabling utility companies and consumers to better monitor, regulate and reduce energy consumption. This will further contribute to environmental health by reducing the city’s carbon footprint.