ASLA’s Chinatown Green Streets Demonstration Project to Help D.C. Become Nation’s Greenest City

The American Society of Landscape Architects is greening the District’s streets. Well, not all of them, just the ones surrounding its headquarters, in Chinatown. ASLA is working on the Chinatown Green Streets Demonstration Project, a project meant to help the District become one of the greenest cities on the planet.

The American Society of Landscape Architects is greening the District’s streets. Well, not all of them, just the ones surrounding its headquarters, in Chinatown.

ASLA is working on the Chinatown Green Streets Demonstration Project, a project meant to help the District become one of the greenest cities on the planet. It calls for the design and installation of an interconnected series of vegetated systems and innovative technologies to manage stormwater runoff and beautify the public right-of-way.

The Chinatown Green Streets Demonstration Project will be carried out on a 13-block study area, between the White House and National Capitol Building. This area was developed in the 1,800s and is is within the original 1791 Pierre L’Enfant plan for Washington D.C. Once complete, the project will show the entire world how city streets can truly become sustainable.

“This project is an investment in our city’s future. We want to show that landscape architecture can heal the environment as well as provide a safer street design that will benefit everyone,” Nancy Somerville, executive vice president & CEO of ASLA, said in a statement. “By implementing a more natural way to manage stormwater, it will help the District of Columbia in its goal of becoming one of the greenest cities in the United States while also providing a model for cities around the world. It will also make our neighborhood more walkable and accessible for residents and visitors.”

ASLA has selected the Austin office of Design Workshop to serve as lead consultant for the project. Design Workshop will oversee the project through all its phases, leading a team that includes VIKA Capitol, Walter P Moore, Oehme van Sweden, Blakey and Agnew, Larry Kirkland, Ginnie Cooper and Construction Ecoservices.

“The project will prove that street rights-of-way can have various uses and function that conventional thinking has assumed cannot coexist,” said Steven Spears, PLA, AICP Principal with Design Workshop. “Fully integrating in-depth sustainable features and technology, coupled by mobility options for all users, is at the forefront of this demonstration effort. The 13-block study area will become a paradigm shift in the way that society recognizes and values public right-of-way.”

ASLA and Design Workshop will start the project next month. They will first create an overall master plan, expected to be completed by January 2015. The first phase of design and development is scheduled to start next year.

Photo credit: The American Society of Landscape Architects