3rd Century Mall

Read here our vision for America’s 3rd Century Mall

3rd Century Mall Initiative

The National Mall Coalition began our 3rd Century Mall Initiative in late 2003 out of concern for the future of this nationally significant symbolic landscape in the heart of the nation’s capital. Continuing pressures for new construction –- memorials, museums, and security barriers –- threatened to overwhelm the public open space. Congress declared the Mall a “substantially completed work of civic art” but already had made exceptions for a visitors center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Clearly, the Mall cannot be complete any more than American history is finished.

Our 3rd Century Mall Initiative asked what can we, the public, do to ensure that future generations can continue to tell their story on the Mall?  The 1791 L’Enfant Plan represents the 1st Century Mall; the 1902 McMillan Plan is the 2nd Century Mall. How can we envision the the Mall of the future — the 3rd Century Mall?

Review our concept for America’s 3rd Century Mall here. 

Public Forums to Encourage Citizen Action

Future of Mall 2004 at GWU for WEB
Architects, historians, historic preservationists, students, and  local residents attended the 2004 public forums at George Washington University

In 2004 we held four public forums at George Washington University in Washington, DC, to start a public dialogue.  In January, representatives of successful citizen-based groups — New York City’s Central Park Conservancy and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Recreational Parks — spoke to a crowd of students, local residents, and government agency planners about their experiences in creating citizen-based advocacy and support groups for their parks.

Our three workshops in May 2004 focused on major themes: The Mall and Design, the Mall and the City of Washington, and the Mall and the Visitor. In October we published The Future of the National Mall report that summarized the proceedings and proposed next steps.  Since then we have been discussing our ideas about the Mall’s history and future with Congressional members and staff, government agencies, and the public.

One clear outcome is that the historic L’Enfant and McMillan plans cannot solve modern problems or show the way to adapt the Mall to future needs. How can we meet modern needs? The Mall boundaries can be expandedas they were in the 1902 McMillan Plan, to create new locations along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers for new museums, memorials, and public gatherings and events. There is a need for an independent McMillan-type commission to create the new plan for Mall expansion in the 21st century. And there is need for unified management – a Mall conservancy or board of regents with strong public participation – to work with the eight or more managing agencies and the public in implementing the new vision for the National Mall. Congress, the President, and the American people will have to work together to achieve this goal.

3rd Century Mall can connect the Mall with the surrounding community.


More Posts in 3rd Century Mall