Greater Greater Washington

Preservation


How old are DC's buildings? This map will tell you

An interactive map from the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows the average age of buildings throughout the city.


Map from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The map doesn't show individual buildings. Rather, it shows the median age of all the buildings within a roughly block-sized area. The map is a handy way to get a quick sense of neighborhoods' overall development history.

Where are DC's historic buildings clustered? Capitol Hill and Georgetown, sure, but pre-war neighborhoods also stretch out in other directions all the way to the Maryland border. Meanwhile, the buildings downtown and along commercial and industrial corridors tend to be much newer.

The interactive map also includes Seattle and San Francisco.

What other patterns do you see?

Matt Malinowski is a consultant advising government clients on improving the energy efficiency of consumer electronic products, but is interested in all aspects of sustainable infrastructure and community resilience. He lives with his wife in the Truxton Circle/Bates neighborhood of DC. 

Comments

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What was the source for this data? The DC Building Permit database created by Brian Kraft?

by John Muller on Jun 6, 2014 1:38 pm • linkreport

Curious that they aggregated it by arbitrarily-sized blocks, while other cities are putting out building-by-building data. One would *think* the data feeding into this would include building-by-building.

by Bossi on Jun 6, 2014 1:59 pm • linkreport

One of the benefits of being "boomtown" for 12 of the past 15 years is the level of private investment in new and renovating buildings, both commercial and residential. This reflects that.

by Arnog on Jun 6, 2014 2:57 pm • linkreport

@ Bossi...

Well, at least two buildings have their actual age...the White House and the Capitol Building (1814 and 1793 dates are given for those squares).

by TypeSauvage on Jun 6, 2014 3:57 pm • linkreport

It shows 1900 for most of Georgetown, which makes me think it's based off city records which for the most part gives 1900 as the date for all buildings built before 1900. John is right that Brian Kraft's database would give you more accuracy for the older neighborhoods.

by TM on Jun 6, 2014 5:07 pm • linkreport

IIRC, the DC property assessment database provides a year of construction for every building. DC GIS provides building footprints for every structure in the city. I looked into this a while back, and vaguely recall that it'd take some doing to link the property assessments to individual buildings on the footprints file.

by David R. on Jun 6, 2014 5:53 pm • linkreport

The old street car lines are evident in their radial nature.

by Thayer-D on Jun 6, 2014 6:47 pm • linkreport

The blue cluster between New Mexico and Massachusetts Avenues caught me by surprise. Looks like most of those buildings were built in the early 1980s.

by Frank IBC on Jun 7, 2014 10:47 am • linkreport

They must be using data from the DC government because most of the properties on my block are pre-1900, except for 4. I did research and if you look at the old real estate maps, property tax records, etc. the houses are from 1870-1890 something. However, according to the DC govt. they are from 1900. Kraft's permit database wouldn't help as no permits were required when my house was built.

by Mari InShaw on Jun 10, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

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