National Capital Planning Commission
Newsletter — March 2013

Study of Washington, DC's Height Act Underway

NCPC and the DC Office of Planning are working on the Height Master Plan for Washington, DC. The Congressionally-requested study will explore the impact of strategic changes to the federal Height of Buildings Act of 1910 considering local economic development goals, federal interests, national security concerns, compatibility to surrounding neighborhoods, local residents’ input, and other related factors. The first phase features an analysis of peer capital cities and will explore federal and local interests. The study will wrap up with recommendations to Congress in fall 2013.

The Commission was briefed on the proposed study process at their March meeting. To see the presentation and learn more about the study, visit the new website Public involvement and opportunities to comment will be provided throughout the process.

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Next Commission Meeting
April 4, 2013 | 1:00PM

Live video from Commission meetings is available online at:

Tentative agenda [PDF]
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HeighteneDConversations Panel Explores
International Strategies

On March 5, international experts gathered at the National Archives to share how different cities manage building height and discuss the role of height in shaping city identity and growth.

Jurgen Bruns-Berentelg talked about Berlin, as well as Hamburg’s Hafencity redevelopment where largely horizontal development is punctuated by development ‘spikes’ that reflect the historic skyline pattern.
Robert Tavernor outlined London’s ‘cluster’ of high-rise development beyond the old city and protection of critical viewsheds to landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral.
John Worthington contrasted the public issues surrounding Dublin’s exploration of whether to build upwards with Rotterdam’s unabashed interest in tall development.
Moderator Gary Hack referenced height discussions in Philadelphia and other American cities.

Congressman Darrell Issa noted in his remarks, “It’s not how high we go, but how well we go high.”

Previewing the evening’s discussion, NCPC and David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington hosted a 30-minute lunchtime live video chat.

Watch Entire Panel Discussion

Take Aways

Watch Camilla Ween discuss how London is going green.
Helen Marriage will headline NCPC’s April Speaker Series.
NCPC will moderate a panel at the Downtown BID’s March 27 Energy Summit.
APA’s national conference is April 13-17. NCPC staff will lead a panel on commemoration.
NCPC will participate in Planning the Future of Federal Triangle South, a ULI event on March 27.
Save the date: SW Ecodistrict/10th Street Public Meeting: May 21.