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Essential News & Views — 11/26/16 — A Black History Aided Analysis Of Population Growth In #newDC

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Marcus K. Dowling


DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser believes that Washington, DC’s population will reach 800,000 by 2040. I say, why don’t we just shoot for the moon here and go for the full million, lol. It’s entirely possible. Furthermore, in contemplating DC’s evolution, there’s definitely a need to look at the city’s evolution from both a physical, sociological and economic standpoint to really allow where we’re headed to sink in, in full.

Here’s some wild things to consider, using iconic African-American moments as a point for both visual comparisons and conceptual statements regarding population growth and density in the Nation’s Capital.

    • On August 28, 1963, there were roughly 760,000 people living in Washington, DC when roughly 300,000 people convened in an iconic manner near the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington. It’s a visual that really puts into stark vision just how impacting and widespread the cause of civil rights had become to liberal-minded Americans-in-general.

    • On October 16, 1995, there were roughly 600,000 people living in Washington, DC when Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam organized the Million Man March. The idea of not just one million black men, but just one million people in general in Washington, DC just seemed astounding, as if there was some type of invasion about to occur and 61 square miles would be unable to control the overflow.

    • On January 20, 2009, there were roughly 600,000 people living in Washington, DC when 1.8 million people visited the Nation’s Capital for Barack Obama’s first-term inauguration as President of the United States. Not only did DC manage the overflow, but they city turned the overflow into a level of revenue accrual that had never been seen before in the city.

  • On September 24, 2016, there were nearly 700,000 people living in Washington, DC when 30,000 people visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s entirely possible that in the museum’s first year of opening that roughly four-to-five million people could visit.  In 2015, DC’s tourism industry raked in $7.2 billion dollars overall, which, as a period at the end of the sentence that starts with the March on Washington some four decades prior is astounding.

We’ve gone from a place as a city where we were literally a sleepy southern town that was the seat of power for the American government to now being a cosmopolitan locale that’s doing tourism business alone at a clip that’s roughly 1/6 that of New York City, 1/2 that of Chicago, and numbers in line with cities like a New Orleans area recovering from Hurricane Katrina, or Mall of America’s Minneapolis, Minnesota.

However, there’s something about DC that’s noted in our National Museum of African-American History and Culture being already constantly sold out of tickets and already can’t handle it’s too many visitors that’s intriguing as a metaphor for #newDC. We’re already nearing a time in the Nation’s Capital where there are roughly 17,000 people per square mile on a daily basis in the Nation’s Capital. If #newDC’s population swells to 1 million by 2040, the number of people between residents and city visitors in DC on a daily basis could swell to 30,000 people per square mile in the city, or, imagine a city congested in a manner similar to what the.22 square mile large National Mall looked like on the day of the Million Man March, or half of incredibly overcrowded Manhattan.

Just some fascinating food-for-thought…

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