Greater Greater Washington

Weekend links: Higher or lower


Photo by Reznicek111 on Flickr.
The rent's too damn high: Artists in a Bloomingdale Truxton Circle apartment building are finding it hard to pay escalating rents. Several artists feel overlooked in the city's redevelopment renaissance. Should the city dedicate, subsidize, or require affordable housing for artists? (WAMU)

Lewis: Ease height limits: Columnist Roger Lewis advocates selective increases to DC's height limits. He proposes modest increases in the L'Enfant City and greater increases around transit and major corridors elsewhere. (Post)

Preservationist frets over views of fat sunbathers: The Georgetown Exxon project looks like a box because of zoning's absolute height limit. The developer will tweak the design, but won't shrink it just to placate neighbors. And Old Georgetown Board member Anne Lewis wants to protect against "fat people in bikinis." (Patch)

Musicians soundtrack the Mall: Two area brothers are developing a free iPhone app that plays different music based on where you are on the Mall. They aim endear the Mall to local residents who usually dismiss the place as a tourist zone. (WAMU)

Bus helps tardy man arrive on time: Chronically late Miles Grant rediscovers the bus as a quick and comfortable way to get from his home to Ballston. Once he knows the bus is quicker, will he just lapse into tardiness anyway? (The Green Miles)

No more ped-bike funding?: House Transportation chair John Mica (R-FL) wants to remove federal requirements that states spend a small amount of transportation money on ped-bike projects. Perhaps ideally, all choice should be at the state or local level, but most states dedicate as much money to roads as they can. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

Jakarta goes car-free some days: Like many industrialized Asian cities, Jakarta is immensely clogged with traffic almost constnatly. But now, on many Sundays, it's an oasis of pedestrians and bicyclists as cars are temporarily banned. (CSMonitor)

And...: WMATA is improving the translations of its website for foreign visitors. (Examiner) ... San Francisco merchants are eager to replace street parking spaces with "parklets." (Streetsblog)

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Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

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To privilege artists over others searching for affordable DC housing reinforces popular stereotypes of artists as coddled and spoiled. To claim that artists need to live and work in the same space is simply untrue.

This is true: developers would rather meet their "public good" obligations by renting a few units to the voluntary poor -- artists -- than to the involuntary poor, the underclass and working people.

Artists and their advocates should join others who push for greater affordable housing for all Washingtonians who need it. What arts advocates must do above this is increase the supply of affordable studio and rehearsal spaces. It is counter-productive to tie studio and housing issues together, and studio space supplied by developers (in return for tax breaks or financing) is almost always inadequate anyway.

by Mike Licht on May 7, 2011 1:22 pm • linkreport

"Artists and their advocates should join others who push for greater affordable housing for all Washingtonians who need it."

There is already plenty of affordable housing - in Virginia and Maryland. Why should any particular group be exempt from the joys of commuting?

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on May 7, 2011 2:27 pm • linkreport

To privilege artists over others searching for affordable DC housing reinforces popular stereotypes of artists as coddled and spoiled. To claim that artists need to live and work in the same space is simply untrue.

This is true: developers would rather meet their "public good" obligations by renting a few units to the voluntary poor -- artists -- than to the involuntary poor, the underclass and working people.

Artists and their advocates should join others who push for greater affordable housing for all Washingtonians who need it. What arts advocates must do above this is increase the supply of affordable studio and rehearsal spaces. It is counter-productive to tie studio and housing issues together, and studio space supplied by developers (in return for tax breaks or financing) is almost always inadequate anyway.

by Mike Licht on May 7, 2011 1:22 pm
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Who's stereotype is that? Yours? Artists are coddled? How many artists do you really know? If you actually knew any you would know they are some of the hardest working, self-sacrificing people out there. The ones I know are scraping by in cramped apartments, usually working 2-3 jobs on the side and renting studio space wherever they can in order to do their work. They hustle on weekends to markets and showings and travel to far flung locations usually entirely on their own dime to sell their work. And these are accomplished, trained professionals. If they can get a break I'm all for it.

Oh, and volunteer poor? So everyone should work in white collar fields making 6 figures so that you can approve of how they make a living? Get over yourself, Mike. You sound a lot more like the "coddled" lady from Georgetown whining about "fat people in bikinis". Don't want to see them? Don't look at them.

by Mike O on May 7, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

The "artists" just need to ask their parents for more money.

by aaa on May 7, 2011 3:43 pm • linkreport

One of the best things Mayor Fenty did was remove people like Anne Lewis from the HPRB. That she ended up on the Old Georgetown Board and is now cramming her personal sensibility on the residents of Ward 2 is not surprising.

by William on May 7, 2011 7:04 pm • linkreport

From what I remember, the "artist" housing at the Loree Grand was somewhere in the range of $1,800 a month, and had very strict income requirements attached to it (I think the combined income of the residents of the apartment couldn't surpass $60k/year).

I'm still honestly not sure what sort of person could meet the eligibility requirements, and still be able to pay the rent.

by andrew on May 7, 2011 7:19 pm • linkreport

52 O Street, NW is not Bloomingdale. It's Truxton Circle.

by Mark on May 7, 2011 8:25 pm • linkreport

Three cheers for Georgetown's reaction to Eastbanc's building on M street. Unfortunate that only the rich neighborhoods seem to have the muscle to reject the street deadning effects of these glass spaceship designs. The video is hillarious, the developer stabbing his own architect in the back for the sale.

West End neighbors won't be so lucky because of thier neighborhood's complete lack of character, thus trying to build some will be even harder. What a waste of recources and energy.

by Thayer-D on May 8, 2011 3:27 am • linkreport

bloomingdale keeps getting larger and larger.

by fff on May 8, 2011 2:35 pm • linkreport

To piggyback SmokeJaguar's comment, there is also plenty of affordable housing in DC. Trinidad, Carver-Langston, Anacostia, Deanwood, further out in NE and SE, certain parts of NW, etc. Just not in the most 'desirable' neighborhoods.

by H Street Landlord on May 8, 2011 5:42 pm • linkreport

There is dedicated artist affordable housing - one example is the Artspace Lofts that is almost completed in Edgewood.

by Sally on May 9, 2011 7:20 am • linkreport

--Should the city dedicate, subsidize, or require affordable housing for artists? --

Ah...no.

What artist and other bohemians should do is similar to what bohemians have done in the past. Find another location and make it desirable. Yes, it is unfortunate that artists seem to pre-date gentrification and get pushed out when it comes but that is life.

by Burger on May 9, 2011 10:47 am • linkreport

Housing assistance shouldn't be funneled to one group over another. Artists are no more worthy of housing assistance than any of the other hard working residents. However, that doesn't mean that having artists in the community doesn't add value. I would love to see a non-profit work out a way to provide discounted studio space to keep artists around.

by OddNumber on May 9, 2011 12:44 pm • linkreport

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