Urban Design and the Capital City
June 16, 2015
Washington, D.C., has long been shaped as a city of big ideas within a planning framework befitting the image of a capital city. Now well into its third century, the nation's capital is emerging as a vibrant, modern metropolis that has more than lived up to the ambitious plans that have shaped it.
As the city continues to grow, it now faces new 21st century challenges that will require creative thinking and inspiring urban design to ensure Washington remains the enduring model of what a capital city should be. The architecture and urban design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill recently invested in this challenge by bringing a formal planning presence back to its Washington office, enhancing its long-standing presence as urban designers in this region at the same time that it continues to work at the forefront of designing flexible frameworks for entire new cities all around the world.
Roger Weber, SOM's senior urban designer in Washington, spoke about SOM's work in Washington, linking the local challenges the city faces to the global challenges of urbanization all around the world. He shared his thoughts on some of the big ideas that will allow Washington to continue to compete globally as a model of livability and sustainability, as well as lessons it has wrought for the development of new cities elsewhere.