March 19, 2008


This week for Gridskipper, I wrote my post on NoMa, Washington DC's attempt to revitalize the no man's land of vacant lots and boring office buildings just north of Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Admittedly, I feel a tad guilty mocking anyone's attempt to improve the city but I really think the trifecta of city planners, real estate moguls, and the federal government is an unholy alliance that definitely deserves a degree of ridicule. I'm more in favor of organic, bottoms-up urban development rather than hype borne from the boardroom.

The upside was that I got to take myself on a field trip into the so-called NoMa corridor, which felt a bit like a totally separate city than the one I live in. Periodically you do get a glimpse of the capitol building, but otherwise, it's all kind of barren and strange. The exception is the awesome brick behemoth that is the United States Office of Printing and Engraving. If only they would go condo! I am tempted to start a campaign to Bring Back Swampoodle, the old Irish shanty town that they are now trying to relabel as NoMa. I think if only they did a survey, they'd find more people in favor of Swampoodle.

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