11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan, Washington D.C.

The 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan in Washington, D.C. proposes a holistic approach to addressing wide-ranging community needs in areas experiencing some of the highest rates of gentrification and displacement in the country. Neighborhoods in the city’s Ward 6, which includes Capitol Hill, Navy Yard, and Southwest Waterfront, have seen the highest rates of displacement, with some experiencing losses of over 70 percent of residents, primarily low-income and African-American people. The 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan was developed in 2015 to address community development concerns around ongoing construction of the 11th Street Bridge Park, the city’s first elevated public park connecting Capitol Hill/Navy Yard in Northwest D.C. and the historic Anacostia/Fairlawn neighborhoods in Southeast D.C. – a project that has spurred concerns about investment-induced displacement and preserving the surrounding community’s environmental, economic, and cultural assets. The Equitable Development Plan proposes a cross-section of strategies to combat systemic inequities and displacement, including strategies for housing, workforce development, small business development, and arts/culture. The plan, conducted in parallel with other local initiatives like the Douglass Community Land Trust, could help members of the community retain control of development and mitigate gentrification pressures, providing lessons across the city even as property owners and developers consider installing resilience upgrades and other investments to local housing stock.

The 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan was created in 2015 to address community development and displacement concerns around the 11th Street Bridge Park – an elevated park over D.C.’s Anacostia river. The 11th Street Bridge Park is designed to bring economic stimulus to communities in the Anacostia and Fairlawn neighborhoods (located in Southeast D.C.) and Navy Yard and Capitol Hill (located in Northwest D.C.). The project will be built on top of the former 11th Street Bridge and will connect the communities through a pedestrian-only civic space, which can be used for environmental education, public art and outdoor performances, urban agriculture, and other recreational uses. 

The purpose of the Equitable Development Plan is to preserve the existing communities surrounding the Bridge Park by identifying current housing, economic, and cultural needs, and outlining strategies to address those needs before, during, and after bridge construction. When compared to other U.S. cities, D.C.’s neighborhoods have experienced some of the greatest intensity of gentrification and displacement. One of the goals of the 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan is to create strategies that will allow for economic investment in the Bridge Park’s surrounding communities without displacing its current residents and losing the area’s cultural heritage. 

Equitable Development Plan and Activities

The 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan proposes a holistic approach to address concerns about the displacement of surrounding communities resulting from the Bridge Park. To ensure that existing communities have access to the economic benefits associated with the Bridge Park, the Plan outlines five anti-displacement objectives: workforce development, small businesses support, community-driven planning, affordable housing promotion, and inclusive arts and culture support. Each objective includes a cross-section of strategies to be executed before, during, and after the construction of the Bridge Park in order to address both existing needs and future threats to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Partnerships and Funding 

Investors and nonprofit partners have played a critical role in creating programs to implement the strategies outlined in 11th Street Bridge Equitable Development Plan. Developers of the Bridge Park have partnered with private investors and local non-profits to raise nearly $56 million of direct investment, which includes an initial investment of $5 million from JP Morgan, supplemented by $50 million from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), an organization that supports efforts to create resilient and inclusive communities. The Douglass Community Land Trust used part of the funding to create programs to preserve affordable housing and offer home ownership training – so far helping 70 low- and moderate-income households purchase homes. Wacif, a nonprofit focused on increasing equity and economic opportunity in underserved D.C. communities,  has used some of the funding to provide micro loans, training, and technical assistance to small businesses in surrounding communities. So far, they have provided 104 small businesses with financial and technical assistance. Wacif also partnered with Skyland Workforce, a nonprofit focused on career development, to conduct training sessions for residents of nearby communities, through which 31 individuals have been trained and placed in full time construction jobs. 

 

Publication Date: 2015

Related Organizations:

  • District of Columbia

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Resource Types:

  • Engagement
  • Plans (other)

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Impacts:

  • Socioeconomic

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