PARK(ing) Day 2015

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The Office of Planning’s space on 4th Street SW included a large checkerboard, a seating area, and two gardens made from shipping pallets.  We can’t wait until next year!

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Exploring Downtown with Golden Triangle BID

By Emily Pierson

Last Friday, Leona Agouridis, Executive Director of Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID), led OP Director Eric Shaw and several representatives from across the agency on a walking tour through downtown. The tour highlighted some of the initiatives Golden Triangle BID has spearheaded over the past few months, working with business owners, workers, and DC government agencies to enhance the environment in and around DC’s central business district.

pic 1pic 2Through their focus on sustainability, the Golden Triangle BID has been focusing on improving the sidewalks with landscaping.  In a partnership with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), the BID built five rain gardens in Golden Triangle including one at 19th and L Streets.  The garden also includes stone seating and educational signage.

The BID has also worked with local businesses to improve the landscaping in front of buildings throughout Golden Triangle with the annual Golden Streets competition. Each year in the spring, businesses design and arrange trees, flowers, plants, and other landscape elements around a chosen theme. The entries are then voted on by the public and a panel of experts.   The photos below highlight this year’s expert’s choice featuring an “Earth, Wind, and Fire” theme on 17th Street between H and I (Eye) Streets.

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Easily the most successful initiative promoted by Golden Triangle BID has been Farragut Fridays, a weekly festival in Farragut Park during the summer months. On this particularly beautiful July Friday, hundreds of people came out for food trucks, games, fresh air, and sunshine. For these events, Golden Triangle BID provides additional outdoor seating with umbrellas, an “outdoor office,” ping pong tables and corn hole games, and tents for educating visitors to the park on the BID’s mission and initiatives. The vibrant weekly event draws local office workers, tourists, and lunch-seekers from all over downtown. With a great relaxed and fun atmosphere, the park is truly a place for everyone. Be sure to check it out next Friday!

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The 2015 Yarrow Mamout Archaeological Project

by Mia Carey

Yarrow Mamout was a Muslim slave who purchased property at 3324 Dent Place on February 8th, 1800, four years after receiving his freedom. Mamout served the Beall family of Maryland and Georgetown for over forty years after arriving in Annapolis, Maryland in 1752. He is thought to have been born in Guinea, West Africa ca. 1736 before being sold into slavery at the tender age of 16. When  he in arrived in Maryland, Yarrow was able to read and write in Arabic, which suggests that he may have been a wealthy member of his Fulani tribe. Mamout received his manumission  papers on August 22, 1796 as a reward for being a good and faithful servant.  By 1803, Mamout had transferred the property deed to his fifteen year old son, Aquilla.

Yarrow Mamout

Despite losing his savings twice to insolvent merchants, Mamout amassed a savings of $200 which he then used to purchase shares at the Bank of Georgetown.The interest accrued from these shares allowed Yarrow to live out the rest of his life comfortably. He was known for his skills as a brick-maker and basket-weaver,  his experience working on a ship, and his extensive understanding of real estate, finance, and law. Yarrow became well-known in 1819 after Charles Wilson Peale painted his portrait (which now hangs in the Atwater Museum in Philadelphia). When Peale arrived in Georgetown he heard of a man rumored to be 140 years old and sought out Yarrow; during his session he recorded Yarrow’s account of his life in his diary. A second portrait of Yarrow was painted in 1822 by James Alexander Simpson, which now hangs in the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Public Library. According to an obituary circulated by Peale, Yarrow died on January 19, 1823 and is rumored to be buried in the place in which he prayed.

Much of the historical information was developed by James H. Johnston in his book “From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family.”

For more information, see:



“Our RFP”—Community-Based Pilot Process for Parcel 42

Over sixty District residents joined the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and the DC Office of Planning (OP) for the Our RFP Parcel 42 Public Workshop on Saturday, June 13. Our RFP is Mayor Bowser’s initiative to engage District residents early on in the request for proposals (RFP) process used to redevelop District owned property. Our RFP ensures that the public’s perspective and priorities are incorporated with the District’s goals throughout the entire process. Parcel 42, located at the intersection of 7th and R Streets NW, is the first pilot of the Our RFP process.


At the June 13th workshop, participants had small group discussions about building uses, design, and sustainability. During these discussions, many people expressed interest in unique ground floor uses including incubator space, workforce development services, live/work studios, or office space for District services. When the conversation turned to potential uses of the upper floors of a building on the site, residents discussed a range of ideas, including incorporating affordable housing on the site. During a discussion about the design and sustainability, residents thought a new building on Parcel 42 should be architecturally significant, include green and sustainable best practices, and showcase art within the public realm.

All of this feedback will be analyzed and reviewed by DMPED, which, after receiving additional input at a July follow-up meeting, will develop an RFP to redevelop Parcel 42.

But we still want to hear from you!

Continue to share your thoughts through June 30th about the future of Parcel 42 online at or in person at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 317, Washington, DC 20004.

A public follow-up meeting will be held on the evening of July 28th at the Shaw library to discuss how all the feedback should be incorporated into a RFP to redevelop Parcel 42. For more information about the Parcel 42 Our RFP please visit or email

Middlebury College Food Works Internship Program Stops by OP

Recently students from Middlebury College’s Food Works internship program stopped by the Office of Planning to learn the latest and greatest on DC’s food systems. These fellows will be spreading out across the city this summer working for gardens, food banks, schools, and non-profit organizations to take action around food issues. Good luck on all your internships and we can’t wait to hear what you accomplish so we can update our food stats here at OP!


DC’s great food assets

Did you know DC has many great food assets? We have…

  • 52 farmers markets, 5 open year round
  • 52 full-scale grocery stores
  • 60 Healthy Corner Stores
  • More than 1,800 community garden plots
  • 110 school gardens
  • 70+ Community-Supported-Agriculture groups delivering in DC

Want to find more food-related things in your neighborhood? Check out