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Commemorative Works

As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC is home to many monuments and memorials honoring individuals and events of national significance. But the District also is a place with local individuals and events that have great significance to the residents and neighborhoods of our city.

Commemorating the contribution of individuals to the District, notable events, and significant locations can strengthen civic identity through a renewed focus of telling the DC Story in public spaces, along streets and boulevards, and in waterfront areas. Incorporating commemorative works into public places evokes shared memories and experiences, shapes perceptions of District neighborhoods, and contributes to the way people interact and experience the environment around them.

The District’s public realm - the potential local of commemorative works - includes its streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, civic buildings, and other public spaces. Such spaces represent half of the city’s land area, with street right-of-way alone accounting for over 10,000 acres. The design of public space provides some of the best opportunities for the District to improve aesthetics and image. It is the quality of public space that defines the great cities and neighborhoods of the world. The sense of place in the District’s neighborhoods is a function of their cultural history, physical history, and visual qualities.

The design principles for incorporating commemorative works into the existing urban fabric include:

  • Enhancing the quality of existing neighborhoods - theirs view corridors, open spaces and recreation areas - and support established land uses and local planning objectives.
  • Complementing economic development, promoting tourism and educational opportunities and taking full advantage of public spaces.
  • Incorporating commemorative works in a way that is appropriate to their subject and respectful of their immediate surroundings.
  • Reinforcing key design features of the L’Enfant and McMillan Plans, including major streets and avenues and public spaces.
  • Sharing the “DC Story” in a way that shapes perceptions of neighborhoods and contribute to the way people interact and live on a daily basis.

For more information, contact Chris Shaheen, Public Space Program Manager of the DC Office of Planning at (202) 442-7616 or by email at [email protected].