Series: A Conversation About Housing

Cleveland Park benefits from a wide range of public amenities – a metro stop, a beautiful new library, easy access to Rock Creek Park and other green spaces – along with good retail shops, a farmers market and other resources. But it’s also unaffordable to many: median single family home prices are $1.7 million while condo/co-op median prices are $437,000. Many people can’t afford to live here, and many who rent here can’t afford to buy. Overwhelmingly white (>75%), our neighborhood also falls far short of mirroring our city’s racial diversity – a fact that reflects a legacy of deliberate exclusion.     

How did Cleveland Park come to be this way? How can we develop future housing in ways that make our neighborhood more inclusive, more affordable, more commercially vibrant and sustainable? How can we play our part in meeting the city’s needs for housing overall?

In the coming months Cleveland Park Smart Growth will host a series of webinars to explore these questions. Through presentations and ample time for discussion, we’ll examine our neighborhood’s history, current needs for housing that aren’t being met, and options for meeting these needs and making Cleveland Park a more affordable and welcoming place to live.

We hope these discussions will help our neighborhood prepare for a process that will help shape its future: In the spring, as part of its Comprehensive Plan, DC’s Office of Planning will start its “development and design guidelines” for Cleveland and Woodley Park, which will lay out how we can create housing for a range of incomes while staying architecturally compatible to the historic districts in these neighborhoods. 

Part 1: How We Got Here, Thu Jan 20

We hope you can join us as we kick off the series on Thursday January 20th with a look back at How We Got Here. CPSG founder Bob Ward will review the long history of exclusion in our neighborhoods that didn’t get told when our historic districts were created. Georgetown University professor Brian McCabe will talk about the ways in which high income neighborhoods like ours have, through civic engagement, perpetuated the exclusivity of their neighborhood.

Part 2: Current Need for Housing, Thu Feb 17

On Thursday, February 17th we will address the Current Need for Housing, which will cover what “affordable housing” means to different people, dig into the data to show the widening gap of affordability, put faces on those most impacted by the current affordability crisis and how excluding these people makes our neighborhood less than it could otherwise be. Speakers TBD.

Part 3: Solutions for Meeting Our Housing Needs, Wed Mar 16

On Wednesday, March 16th we will cover Solutions for Meeting Our Housing Needs. Panelists will discuss the ways more affordability can be built through land use changes and subsidies, and how we can add new homes in historic district and how new approaches to historic preservation can make that task more productive. Speakers TBD.

Be sure to look for announcements on additional speakers, webinar times and how to register in future CPSG communications.

Thanks to Sara Frueh, member of the housing event committee, for preparing this overview.

Not a member of Cleveland Park Smart Growth? Join us! (It’s free)