Ballparks, Eminent Domain, and the Need for a District Planning Commission

An invitation to a free public forum (registration is required):

Ballparks, Eminent Domain, and the Need for a District Planning Commission

January 12th, 6:30-8 p.m.
National Building Museum
Fourth and F Streets, NW

For more information, contact W. Kent Cooper, FAIA,, 202-333-6210

The planning process in the District of Columbia, like that of the National Mall, is dysfunctional. There is no coherent, powerful vision of where we want to go, and no entity designed to give the public a voice in decision making. The Mayor and City Council lack a structural system for getting advice from the public about planning issues. The Comprehensive Plan, like the Mall, is an orphan with neither an advocate nor a defender.

After a long-term analysis of this situation–and of legal options for change–the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a nonprofit citizens planning organization, has advanced a proposal to create a DC Planning Commission. The Commission is conceived to have a significant public membership and designed to become a prime advisor to the Mayor and Council in defending the Comprehensive Plan (and working closely with the National Capital Planning Commission which protects the federal interests).

The forum is cosponsored by the Committee of 100 and the National Building Museum.

Symposium moderator Gary Hack, dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss the utility of planning commissions, with a focus on Philadelphia, where he chaired such a group. Christopher Ronayne, chief of staff to the Mayor of Cleveland and former planning director in that city, will analyze the Cleveland experience. Council Chair Linda Cropp and Planning Director Ellen McCarthy will serve as panelists. Committee of 100 members Dorn McGrath and Kent Cooper have led the planning and coordination work that is bringing this special event to reality.

A press briefing will be held at 5:30. Admission is free. However, registration is required: Call 272-2448 or go online to: