An innovative plan for a sustainable ‘Ecodistrict’ in Washington, D.C. has been accepted by the city’s National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The plan, known as the SW Ecodistrict Plan, was approved Thursday by the NCPC, setting forth an agenda to create a more sustainable, walkable and mixed-use district in Southwest D.C. I wrote about the plan this past summer, which was then part of a two-month public review. The acceptance of the plan ensures that innovative and sustainable measures will not go unnoticed. A press release (pdf) was distributed by the NCPC shortly after the Thursday meeting, adding the intended results of the proposed program.
The SW Ecodistrict Plan is based on the idea that planning, implementing, and operating at a neighborhood (or district) scale results in increased environmental and economic benefits than a traditional building by building approach. The plan proposes a development scenario where projects can be prioritized and implemented over a 20 year period as they become economically viable and align with federal and local investment priorities.
The Southwest Ecodistrict Plan will consists of nearly 110 acres and will house 7.9 million sq. ft. of office space and 1 million sq. ft. of new developments for public and private office space, according to the press release. In addition, the sustainability initiatives are vast.
The plan’s proposal to develop a coordinated approach to land use, transportation, and energy systems would result in a majority of the area’s energy, water, and waste being captured, managed, and then reused. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 51 percent even with the proposed addition of 4 million sq. ft. of new development. Potable water consumption is reduced by 70 percent, and all the stormwater will be managed. In addition, 80 percent of everyday waste can be diverted from the landfill.
Through the promotion of a mixed-use neighborhood, the investment will build a vibrant community, allow for easier access to the southwest waterfront, improve walkability and create more places to live in the District.