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Ellen M. McCarthy
Acting Director, Office of Planning

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Temporary Urbanism Initiative

DCOP’s Temporary Urbanism initiative seeks to transform vacant spaces into vibrant destinations and animated showcases through unique uses. Temporary Urbanism helps meet several objectives established by the District of Columbia through the Creative DC Action Agenda and the Retail Action Roadmap including supporting creative entrepreneurs, activating commercial corridors and highlighting their retail potential, providing residents with unique services and activities, and promoting neighborhoods.

Temporary Urbanism Projects

  • Temporiums: Temporiums are Temporary Urbanism projects that transform vacant storefronts or spaces into a unique temporary retail shop for local entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell their work.
    • The H Street NE Temporium welcome welcomed nearly 1,600 visitors to the Corridor in July and August, 2010. The former RL Christian Library Kiosk was transformed into a cool pop-up shop using repurposed materials and lighting. Over twenty local, DC-based designers participated in the Temporium, and the project was featured in over a dozen major media, travel and leisure or neighborhood news outlets and sites. View the H Street NE Temporium Report
    • In November, 2010 the DC Office of Planning released the Request for Application (RFA) documents to award funding to establish a Temporium to activate a new area. The Request for Application (RFA) documents are found on the District Grants Clearinghouse page. Applications were due on Monday, November 29th


  • Pop-Up Digital Arts Lab: The DC Office of Planning supported a Pop-Up Digital Arts Lab, part of the 2010 Digital Capital Week (produced by iStrategy Labs). The Pop-Up Lab was powered by Affinity Lab, a privately held co-working space in DC. Read more about the Pop-Up Lab


  • ArtPlace:  The DC Office of Planning (OP) received a grant of $250,000 from an unprecedented new private-public collaboration, ArtPlace ( Its aim is to drive revitalization across the country by putting the arts at the center of economic development. Each project supported by ArtPlace has been selected for developing a new model of helping towns and cities thrive by strategically integrating artists and arts organizations into key local efforts in transportation, housing, community development, job creation and more.  OP will create Arts and Culture Temporiums in four emerging creative neighborhoods, where vacant and/or underutilized storefronts and empty lots would be transformed into an artist showcase/village for three to six month periods. The target neighborhoods—which leverage completed Small Area Plans and the Creative Action Agenda-- are: Brookland, Anacostia, Deanwood, and 14th Street Corridor from Spring Street to Longfellow Street, NW. Artists would transform spaces in these neighborhoods into multi-dimensional and multipurpose uses (e.g., gallery for visual artists, performing arts space, production space, etc.). The goal is to find two to four blocks with both vacant buildings and empty lots in proximity that could be completely transformed and promote artist entrepreneurship and community building in the process.