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Global cities eye Washington, D.C. waterfront renewal

The World Bank says the revival of Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia River waterfront is a model other cities can learn from. (Daniel Lobo/flickr/cc)

The rejuvenation of the waterfront in Anacostia, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Washington, D. C., has been steadily underway for more than a decade. Now, the World Bank is citing the effort as a model for cities worldwide in how to use public-private financing to create a lively urban park in a once rundown area. 

The 30-year, $10 billion restoration was launched by the District of Columbia government in 2000. São Paulo and Fortaleza, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Lima and Medellín are among the Latin American cities closely watching Anacostia’s resurgence, the World Bank says. That’s because they also want to transform derelict industrial sites and vacant lots into public space — but often lack financing.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Washington city government and included the involvement of 19 regional and federal agencies. The World Bank characterizes the partnership as “an unprecedented participatory approach to planning.”

The non-governmental organization plans to profile D. C., along with Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Ankara, and Johannesburg, in an upcoming monograph about public-private collaboration for urban renewal. 

World Bank

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