National Capital Planning Commission
Newsletter — August 2012

AIDS Quilt Provides a Powerful and Dynamic Commemorative Experience

Last month, one of Washington's most memorable memorials returned to the Mall on the 25th anniversary of its original display. The Quilt was displayed on the Mall and many other locations throughout Washington. The dynamic aspect of the memorial, in addition to a strong online digital component, enables visitors to access the Quilt in a way that is unique from traditional permanent artworks.

In a city well known for permanent commemoration, which often honors subjects long past, the AIDS Quilt is a stunning reminder that there are nontraditional approaches to remembrance. The AIDS Quilt moves away from bricks and mortar to a dynamic memorial, sewn by hand and designed to incorporate many voices affected today by AIDS. In addition to expanding our notions of the types of materials used in commemorative display, this quilt also challenges the understanding of how we experience memorials.

To better understand the impact of the AIDS Quilt, NCPC hosted an online live video chat. Panelists included Julie Rhoad of The NAMES Project, Anne Balsamo of Quilt 2012: The Digital Experience, and Steve Kidd of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. NCPC's Lucy Kempf moderated the discussion.

NCPC recently concluded a two year effort to better understand the commemoration process. Be on the lookout for Memorial Trends and Practices this fall.

Watch live video chat (30-minute panel discussion)
Watch AIDS Quilt video (5-minute overview video)
Learn more about the AIDS Quilt

Next Commission Meeting
September 6, 2012
New Start Time — 1:00 PM

Live video from Commission meetings is available online at:

Tentative agenda [PDF]
Project materials
Recent Commission actions
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Comment on the Draft SW Ecodistrict Plan

The September 10 deadline to comment on the draft SW Ecodistrict Plan is fast approaching. Share your thoughts on a specific page, the plan in general, or rank the proposed recommendations.

The plan proposes innovative ideas to transform a 15-block predominantly federal precinct south of the National Mall into a sustainable and livable neighborhood that functions as a showcase of sustainable urban development.

Provide your comments on the draft plan

Congress Discusses Building Heights in the District

On July 19 the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held Changes to the Heights Act: Shaping Washington, D.C. for the Future, a hearing that examined Washington’s Height of Buildings Act. NCPC Executive Director Marcel Acosta was one of five people asked to testify.

Executive Director Acosta expressed NCPC’s long support for the overall building limits established in the Height Act because of its extraordinary contributions in shaping the city’s distinctive character and skyline. He also noted that Commission is ready to work with federal and local stakeholder agencies, the general public, and the United States Congress to evaluate any Height Act-related specific ideas or proposals.

Later that day Fox 5 News interviewed Executive Director Acosta on the Height Act and its impact on the nation’s capital.

Watch House committee hearing
Watch Fox 5 interview
Learn more about building heights in the nation’s capital

Commission Meetings' Start Time Changes

The times they are a changin’. NCPC’s Commission meeting times, that is. After taking August off, the next Commission meeting will take place on Thursday, September 6 at the new time of 1:00 pm. Every Commission meeting from that point on will begin at 1:00 p.m. No RSVPs are needed to attend, and meetings may also be viewed online at

Tentative Agenda Items - September 6, 2012 meeting

Save the Date - Live Video Chat with Tommy Wells

On Monday, September 17 NCPC will host a lunchtime live chat with Commission member and DC Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells. The chat will cover issues ranging from efforts to build a more livable, walkable city, to parks and open space. Stay tuned for more details.

Thank You Summer Interns

NCPC wants to give a shout out to our summer interns, all of whom made important contributions to the agency’s work including the Southwest Ecodistrict, commemoration, the Mall Roads Streetscape Manual, records management, and various outreach and legal efforts. You will all be missed! Best of luck back at school.

Julia Benjamin, Virginia Tech
Johnwilliam Carroll, University of Oklahoma
Hannah Dolan, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University
Kristen Fulmer, Virginia Tech
Cecelia Hagan, Wake Forest University School of Law
Matthew Killian, Harvard University
Michael Limberg, University of Maryland
Mary Mease, Ballou Sr. High School

Catch all our summer interns in this SW Ecodistrict promotional video