Conclusion
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There are still several projects underway along the Anacostia River including new parks and the development of remaining large-scale waterfront sites that will reinforce a livable, sustainable, and inclusive Anacostia Waterfront.
On the Horizon
Poplar Point
Poplar Point is one of the last great urban waterfront redevelopment opportunities on the East Coast. The 110-acre site is slated to be transferred to the District of Columbia from the federal government, with the stipulation that 70 acres remain dedicated to parks and open space. Located in Ward 8 and bounded by South Capitol Street, I-295, and the 11th Street Bridges, the site is largely unused, but contains some active National Park Service and U.S. Park Police facilities. A future planning effort will help to determine how the site will be developed.
Hill East
Hill East District Waterfront, formerly known as Reservation 13, is comprised of 67 acres between the eastern edge of the Capitol Hill neighborhood and the western shore of the Anacostia River. It hosted the former National Capital Medical Center campus, formerly known as DC General Hospital, the Central Detention Facility/DC Jail, and other buildings and parking lots. The District plans to redevelop 50 acres of Hill East into a vibrant, mixed-use urban waterfront community in accordance with the Hill East Master Plan approved by the DC Council in 2002. Phase I broke ground in 2018 on two mixed-use buildings providing approximately 350 residential units and 22,000 square feet of retail.
RFK Stadium
With D.C. United moved into their new stadium at Buzzard Point, there is an opportunity to reimagine the 190-acre RFK Campus. Events DC is planning for the campus’ future and has proposed a plan to redevelop it into a new sports and recreation destination for the District, including improved access and experiences along the waterfront. Potential short-term elements of the plan include: a sports and recreation complex, a market hall, community playing fields, pedestrian bridges connecting the main site to Kingman and Heritage Islands, and a memorial to Robert F. Kennedy.
Looking Forward
The District has made strides towards a more equitable waterfront in terms of the development of affordable housing, workforce development and job opportunities for local residents, enhanced mobility and public access to the waterfront for all residents, widespread investment in public facilities, and clean-up efforts that foster better health outcomes for waterfront communities. Even with this progress, there is still more to be done to ensure everyone, including traditionally underserved populations, can benefit from the Anacostia River revitalization.

As Anacostia waterfront neighborhoods experience increased investment and development, the District will work to protect the interests of long-time residents, celebrate the diversity of all residents, and ensure equitable access to community services, amenities, and opportunities. To this end, District agencies and non-profit and private partners will continue to develop creative, community-driven solutions and leverage Anacostia waterfront investment to overcome the economic, physical, and cultural barriers that disproportionately disadvantage low-income residents and residents of color.
Equity and Inclusive Prosperity
As a national sustainability leader, the District is advancing policies and projects that support a more resilient city, which means adapting to climate change and flood risk in waterfront areas.

Moving forward, the District will apply innovative tools and policies to create more resilient communities along the Anacostia River. This new focus on resilience will help communities withstand the impacts of both climate related events as well as economic, security, and health shocks and stresses.

The goals of resilient design are often more easily accomplished at the district scale (rather than city-wide scale), and communities along the Anacostia River are ideal sites for district-based solutions. For communities and buildings, these goals include net zero energy and water use and zero waste sent to landfill. Some strategies to achieve these goals are shared utility systems such as combined heat and power, on-site generation, and battery storage; centralized stormwater management infrastructure (like at Canal Park); rainwater harvesting and living wetlands; and waste reduction policies like composting supported by urban agriculture. Driving towards true sustainability in the built environment would make the community a world-class destination for investment and economic development.
Next Generation Resilience
Innovative Design
The Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan set a standard for design excellence which is evidenced in the design awards received for projects like Arena Stage and Yards Park. In recent years, more progressive and iconic architecture and urban design continues to emerge in a range of new projects of varying scales along the Anacostia like the new DC Water headquarters.

Innovative architecture and urban design will continue to inspire visitors and define the waterfront experience with inclusive public spaces and resilient features that are adaptive to climate change and work with the natural function of the river.
Sustainable Growth
The District has accommodated considerable residential and commercial growth as envisioned along the Anacostia waterfront in both new and well-established neighborhoods. More livable and sustainable higher densities are being realized in waterfront neighborhoods through quality design, increased access to the river, and investments in parks, schools, culture, and transportation.

As the Anacostia waterfront continues to grow as an attractive place to live, work, and play, plans are in place to balance continued growth with neighborhood amenities and connectivity, such as with the Streetcar extension and parkland improvements. The Anacostia River itself and its abundant park system will need to provide respite, recreation, and social space for a growing number of residents, workers, and visitors.
Conclusion
Testing Ground for Innovation
The Anacostia waterfront and its neighborhoods provide an unparalleled canvas for the District’s imagination, where a creative and innovative palette of future possibilities can flourish. This is the place to pilot new technologies, reach unprecedented sustainability and resilience, capture inclusive economic growth, and attract the most sought-after talent and investment. The waterfront can and will be a testing ground for innovation and the District’s aspirations, demonstrating the type of leadership that garners national and international attention.
Big Ideas and Key Sites
It is no surprise that the Anacostia waterfront–its neighborhoods, amenities, destinations, and remaining opportunity sites–have been central to the District government’s prominent bids to compete with other world cities for investment and recognition. From the 2024 Summer Olympics bid to Amazon’s HQ2 competition, DC’s waterfront has been central in proposals and a compelling setting for siting these opportunities. Two of the four sites in DC’s proposal for hosting Amazon’s second headquarters include properties on both sides of the Anacostia River at Capitol Riverfront and Poplar Point as well as the redevelopment of the Reservation 13 campus at Hill East.
Anticipating Future Needs
The physical space along the Anacostia waterfront provides the canvas for visionary thinking to address future opportunities and the changing needs of the District. Publicly-owned properties at Hill East, Poplar Point, and RFK, these large-scale sites can be reimagined to meet future market demand and adapt to technological change to achieve a more equitable and resilient future for all DC residents. These remaining sites coupled with significant private investment already afoot at Buzzard Point, The Wharf, and Navy Yard provide a roadmap for a diverse, cutting edge waterfront. Historic and built out portions of the city do not always lend themselves to serve as laboratories for innovation and state-of-the-art development, but the Anacostia waterfront beckons it.
DC of Tomorrow
Whatever the technology, innovation, or desired investment that lies ahead, the Anacostia waterfront will be a ready platform to make the dream a reality in a way that serves and benefits all District residents. This readiness is essential for sustaining the competitive economic position of Washington, DC and ensuring continued relevancy and inclusive prosperity.
11th Street Bridge Park
The 11th Street Bridge Park, will be DC’s first elevated public park located on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River, serving as a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts, and reconnecting communities on both sides of the river. A community-based and philanthropically funded effort of the Ward 8-based nonprofit Building Bridges Across the river, the 11th Street Bridge Park aims to support inclusive economic opportunity and is informed by a broader Equitable Development Plan. The design team of OMA+OLIN was selected through a design competition in 2014 and the District Department of Transportation completed a feasibility study and engineering analysis of the concept designs and the existing structure in 2018. The park is planned to open in 2023.
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Resurgence of the Anacostia Waterfront
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