CFA 19/MAR/09-1

National Capital Planning Commission
U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
Reimagining Washington’s Monumental Core: A Framework Plan for Connecting New Destinations with the National Mall
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Acosta:

In its meeting of 19 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final draft of the Framework Plan, a joint effort of the staffs of our agencies, submitted under the new title "Reimagining Washington's Monumental Core: A Framework Plan for Connecting New Destinations with the National Mall." The Commission adopted the plan in substance and requested that editorial changes be made to the introduction and implementation sections of the document.

The Commission members noted the improvement in the design and clarity of the document since the previous draft. They also expressed appreciation for the increased emphasis on sustainability in response to their previous comments, noting that sustainable planning needs to occur at a city-wide scale in coordination with multiple entities and will inform all future implementation. The Commission members recommended that the document be edited in order to establish a clear hierarchy of priorities, with emphasis on identifying the most important initiatives and their implementation. They recognized the primacy of improvements to the Southwest sector—connecting the National Mall to the waterfront—as the most critical of the plan's goals.

The Commission members expressed concern that the plan's introductory section was not as effective as the oral presentation in explaining the genesis of the plan and its overall structure. While they recognized the approach of the plan as a sequence of related projects and not a new grand vision for the city, the members recommended that the essential goals of the plan should be strongly stated in the introduction with critical next steps highlighted. They also recommended that the elements listed in the implementation section be less tentative and more emphatic in communicating the need for action on the plan's proposals, many of which are forthcoming or already underway. Citing the awkwardness of the plan's lengthy new title, the Commission strongly recommended a simple and straightforward name, such as the Monumental Core Framework Plan.

In conclusion, the Commission anticipates that these editorial items will be addressed in the final form of the plan and with the understanding that an executive summary will be developed to highlight the plan's general goals and immediate recommendations. The Commission appreciates the productive collaboration between our agencies and looks forward to the realization of the plan's recommendations in the national capital.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Marcel Acosta, Executive Director
National Capital Planning Commission
401 9th Street, NW, Suite 500-N
Washington, DC 20004

cc: Elizabeth Miller, National Capital Planning Commission