Greater Greater Washington

Events roundup: How can longtime and new residents coexist?

The District is changing rapidly as many people, including many young professionals, want to move to walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented neighborhoods. That is also creating tension with long-time residents worried about themselves or their neighbors getting pushed out or favorite businesses closing. What can we do to build harmony rather than conflict?


Diverse hands image from Shutterstock.

The Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) is holding a forum about this very issue tonight, Thursday March 6, 7-9 pm at All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW. It will feature longtime residents and new residents who share the same concerns about housing affordability, transit, and more, along with candidates for DC mayor.

Also, get your zoning update questions answered at open houses, get an update on Red Line repair progress, and more after the jump.

WIN's Drew Bongiovanni writes,

[DC's demographic change] has created in our city a constant tension, a perception that DC is split between new and long-term resident, between have and have-not, where residents of differing age, race, and class do not see one another as neighbors. The voice of the media often insists that new and native DC residents are at odds, pitting these communities against one another by warning that they do not share the same vision for the city.

The action is about seeing whether DC residents can meet that tension head-on and unify around common interests such building affordable housing, ending homelessness, creating living wage jobs, and building a better transit system that better serves all residents.

WIN seeks to ... bring together young voters who share rooms and split rents on Capitol Hill, the families that move into the suburbs, and the seniors who are all struggling to afford housing in the District. To bring together the 18 year-old that has found themself without a place to sleep and the recent college graduate who has moved to the city for their very first job. To organize the rider of a city bus and the bus driver to work together to demand a better transit system. To discover the common ground between the young couple that worries they will need to move from the city to raise kids to those whose roots to this city are too deep for them to ever imagine leaving.

More details are on this flyer.

Zoning update open houses: DC's Office of Planning is holding a series of open house meetings for residents to discuss the proposed changes to the zoning regulations. You can talk to OP staff about the changes on a one-on-one basis to learn more about the proposals. Go here for the draft zoning regulations.

Here is the schedule for the remaining open houses:

  • Friday, March 7, 8:30 am-5 pm at the DC Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650.
  • Tuesday, March 11, 4-8 pm at Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW.
  • Wednesday, March 12, 4-8 pm at Deanwood Recreation Center, 1350 49th Street NW.
  • Friday, March 14, 8:30 am-5 pm at the DC Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650.
  • Saturday, March 15, 10 am-2 pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS, 2427 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE.
  • Friday, March 21, 8:30 am-5 pm at the DC Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650.
  • Friday, March 28, 8:30 am-5 pm at the DC Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650.
Women and transportation webinar: The American Planning Association is hosting a free webinar on issues facing women who work in transportation. The webinar is on Friday, March 7 from 1-2 pm. To register, go here.

Get a Red Line progress report: Next week, hear about Metro's work to rebuild the Red Line from deputy general manager Rob Troup. He'll be speaking at the Action Committee for Transit's monthly meeting this Tuesday, March 11 at 7:30 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place. As always, ACT meetings are free and open to the public.

Organize for 16th Street bus lanes: The Coalition for Smarter Growth is kicking off a campaign for a dedicated rush hour bus lane on 16th Street, where half the people move by buses which get stuck in traffic. Join them for a happy hour from 6-8 pm at JoJo Restaurant and Bar at 16th and U on Wednesday, March 12.

Speak up for King Street bike lanes: The King Street bike lane saga continues at the Alexandria City Council meeting on Saturday, March 15. Show your support for pedestrian and bicycle improvements with fellow walkers and bikers, and the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The public meeting is 9:30 am-12 pm at 301 King Street #2300 in Alexandria. If you'd like to speak at the meeting, please RSVP through CSG.

Andrew Watson is an economic consultant with an interest in urban planning and engineering design. He lives in Woodley Park. 
David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

Comments

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The easiest way of this would be don't come in trying to change what is already there or is done the first moment you get. Perhaps conversing with the locals who have been there longer than you and seeing if there are any issues that you both agree on and go from there.

The new resident moved there so they should have known what they were getting themselves into and if they did not its there own damn fault for not researching or visiting the area before hand.

by kk on Mar 6, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

The King Street bike lane link is broken

by David C on Mar 6, 2014 4:00 pm • linkreport

Never mind. User error.

by David C on Mar 6, 2014 4:01 pm • linkreport

The long-term/short-term thing tends to oversimplify, much like discussions of race (which overlap). There are many people who bought even 5-10 years ago who couldn't afford DC real estate now and probably have different interests than the newest buyers. There are probably a variety of people who could fall in the "long-term" category. I lived here for part of the 90s and retained local ties before moving back in the 00s, so my reach is greater than someone who moved here in 2006, and there are many people who've gone back and forth but retained roots like me.

The recent bump in DC property values--15-20% in my own building may or may not last. the runup in NYC property values are pushed, in part, by out of towners (often people who live abroad) buying condos and coops there, something which has been a factor in the past but to a lesser degree than it is now. DC has some people like that--I have several neighbors with non-vacation property elsewhere, but it's unclear whether it will be a factor inflating our property values. SF has been bouyed by people with huge incomes in tech--the closest approximation here would be lawyer-lobbyists, finance types (often part of the lawyer-lobbyist axis) and people in property development. there's probably more of a limit on how much those sectors can grow here. In the past, a baseline for a lot of housing was two middling govt worker incomes--as those people age out of their properties (a lot of single family homes in the burbs and many row houses in DC), it will be interesting to see who replaces them and whether they will be anything like the current newcomers.

by Rich on Mar 6, 2014 4:42 pm • linkreport

"The voice of the media often insists that new and native DC residents are at odds, pitting these communities against one another by warning that they do not share the same vision for the city." -- as an ANC commissioner, I see precisely that -- young professionals moving in and imposing their notions on the longtime, generally older residents. What I wonder is, what is the age distribution of GGW folks? Is this a forum dominated by the young? Believe me, the world looks a lot different when you're over 60.

by Jack on Mar 7, 2014 9:03 am • linkreport

@Jack I have lived in DC since the 1970's. Maybe my "notion" of what our community should be like is different from others. In my case it is very different from what many longtime residents seem to support.

While GGW readers may skew young, there is a lot of common sense to developing around transit corridors, having more walkable amenities and generally speaking, reducing our dependency on cars. These are all notions that many older residents seem to want to fight.

by William on Mar 7, 2014 9:15 am • linkreport

@Jack
as an ANC commissioner, I see precisely that -- young professionals moving in and imposing their notions on the longtime, generally older residents
You might call it "imposing their notions." I'd say that these young residents are participating in the democratic process and working to improve their community. Should people only get a vote if they stay where they grew up? How long before someone is allowed to put forward new ideas? Five years? Two generations?

by David R. on Mar 7, 2014 10:30 am • linkreport

I am a lifelong resident of DC, and I think the issue is not so much the newer people moving into the city imposing their notions. It is the fact that for many long time residents we have grown accustomed to not having our concerns listened to. So you will see many people not participate in neighborhood meetings because for decades these were useless. No one listened. Now that newer residents are moving in, they are being listened to so it builds animosity in those long time residents who see the difference between the majority of the long time residents (black) and the majority of the newer residents (white). It becomes easy to assume that this is the reason why there is a difference in response.
I think what needs to happen is that the older residents need to not focus their frustration at the newer residents who are simply speaking up for what they want. They should focus it on city officials who have taken their support for granted for a long time. I also think the newer residents should be more aware of the history of the city before them and understand that just because certain residents do not show up to meetings, it does not mean they do not care.

by J.R. on Mar 7, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

The problem with the issue is it artificially places people in opposing camps. I've been in DC since 2000 so which am I?

by BTA on Mar 7, 2014 8:31 pm • linkreport

I pretty liberal on the whole issue, believe me people in my generation were belittled in an especially nasty way as newcomers.

But I do think that people who don't register to vote here (or only vote in a national election), never register their cars here, but within a few weeks know absolutely everything and are very vocal about having everything here figured out, really need to have good sense enough to chill, listen more, and then, if they decide to stay here more than a minute, get involved. Short-term transients lecturing residents is a plague here.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 7, 2014 11:45 pm • linkreport

"But I do think that people who don't register to vote here (or only vote in a national election), never register their cars here, but within a few weeks know absolutely everything and are very vocal about having everything here figured out, really need to have good sense enough to chill, listen more, and then, if they decide to stay here more than a minute, get involved. Short-term transients lecturing residents is a plague here."

You are making a lot of assumptions here. Short-term "transients" don't care enough about the city to lecture people. The people proposing changes are those who are invested in the city and want to make it better.

If you think vocal proponents for urban change are just a rotating cast of know-it-all young people who are going to leave in 3 years anyway, you've got it completely wrong.

by MLD on Mar 8, 2014 8:50 am • linkreport

MLD- I said those "who don't" meaning those who won't do those things, not as an assumption that they won't.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 8, 2014 9:45 am • linkreport

The baseline assumption seems to be that those who are "lecturing" are those transients who are not connected to the city. Otherwise, why bring it up?

by MLD on Mar 8, 2014 9:49 am • linkreport

I see precisely that -- young professionals moving in and imposing their notions on the longtime, generally older residents.

I've lived in DC for 16 years (been a property owner for 13), and am 42 years old - there's no rational definition of "newcomer" (or, sadly, young) that applies to me, although of course others have been here longer. But somehow in discussons on our local listserve I am automatically labeled a transient newcomer because of my race and my positions. It gets old.

In addition, I have no idea what "imposing their notions on the longtome, generally older, residents" means. Older, "longtime" residents have just as much voice in local affairs as anyone else - in fact, in many instances they'd have more. (Case in point - if many of newcomers had their way, parking regulations would be effective 7 days a week, and there would be Sunday enforcement. But the "old guard" goes up in flames if that's even suggested.) The notion that the old guard holds no sway in DC is just absurd.

by dcd on Mar 8, 2014 4:36 pm • linkreport

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