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Talk:Washington, D.C./Districts discussion

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Should D.C. be split into districts? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 18:10, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Maybe, but I'm not sure that would really help much with the huge See section, due to the insane concentration of sights in such a small area. We'd almost have to divide the city center by block, and there wouldn't be a lot of Sleep listings for "North side of the Mall". I do know that the city has some district-worthy neighborhoods outside of the Capitol-WhiteHouse-Lincoln-Jefferson "cathedral", but since the only one I could name would be Dupont Circle, I'd have to defer to someone who knows the city better to identify and delineate them. - Todd VerBeek 20:32, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
I know the Foggybottom area fairly well for having stayed in the area for only three days last year. I'll have to stop in D.C. for a few days on my way back from Boston/Cambridge in the first week of August. I'll see what I can dig up. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 20:40, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree that we should split up DC into several districts. There are several:
  • Downtown (Mall, White House, Capitol)
  • Foggy Bottom (IMF, World Bank, GWU, other stuff)
  • Georgetown (shops, C & O Canal, University)
  • Northwest (technically includes Georgetown, but can be devoted to Dupont, Adams Morgan, U Street corridor, Embassy Row, Cathedral, Naval Observatory, Rock Creek Park, National Zoo, Woodley Park)
  • Northeast (Arboretum, RFK Stadium, )
  • Southeast (not very touristy... Naval Museum)
-Derek 21:50, 26 March 2007 (EDT)
I think what you have as NW needs to be subdivided. At least Dupont, Adams Morgan and U Street are their own districts. BTW, SE will get more touristy next year w/ the opening of the Nats stadium. Anyway, I'm all in favor of dividing this up. There's a lot of DC away from the Downtown area. --Jonboy 23:01, 26 March 2007 (EDT)
I just wanted to chime in to agree with Jonboy's comment. Aside from that I like Derek's proposal, although I think it will need revision as districts get developed. I'm still very occupied with Chicago's districts at present, but once I start finishing up with that, I plan to make a bunch of district maps for DC.
Speaking as someone who grew up in DC, I really don't like having a "Downtown" district because that is both too big for one article and very misleading. The National Mall deserves its own article, regardless of whether you can sleep there, because it is enormous, has a ton of stuff to see and do, and is pretty much the only destination for DC's tourist hordes (except when they venture forth on those ridiculous trolleys). If we are to include the area along the north side of the mall (about two blocks deep I think) in this article, lets please not call that "Downtown"—it's really not. We can split off sections like "Chinatown/Verizon Center" and break out a "Golden Triangle" district (I know it's a made up neighborhood, but the city's goofy campaign is generating some inertia as a coherent section of the city and it makes for a convenient district).
I just overhauled the districts section of this article to first get rid of Anacostia and Rock Creek Park. The latter is not an article and the former is jumping the gun—lets first get any content written about the southeast before subdividing it. Other suggestions off the top of my head:
  • Cover Shaw in the U Street district—it goes well with its northern neighbor and is one of my favorite haunts
  • Whatever the deal is with that area around the new Convention Center, we need to make sure it winds up clearly in one district
  • We have overlap (the Capitol Building) between the Mall and Capitol South; I prefer to put it in the latter to take off some of the pressure on the Mall's looooong list of attractions
  • Lets keep Dupont Circle clearly delineated from the "Golden Triangle" if we go that route
  • Amalgamate surrounding neighborhoods with less going on into the Columbia Heights article
  • For this districts hierarchy to be really good, it should be comprehensive, i.e., no part of DC should be left out. This will be easier once we start making maps.
I hope these comments are useful and rest assured I will pay a lot more attention to this in about a month. --Peter Talk 18:51, 18 July 2007 (EDT)

Comprehensive districts proposal[edit]

DC's neighborhoods
Districts proposal map

OK, here's a map I whipped up of DC's neighborhoods. I'd like to organize not only all current content, but all potential future content into a comprehensive district structure for the city. If you'd like to see what features/streets fit into which neighborhood here is a copy of the map with the satellite image visible. All these neighborhoods should amalgamate into viable district articles.

Here's a proposal, which we can and probably should alter with more editor input, please place suggestions/critiques below the hierarchy list:


  • Washington (D.C.)/The Mall — I actually think The Mall should be given its own article, although I believe that you cannot sleep there. It will fill out a long article just on the weight of the attractions, I think. It's a national park on its own and having a single article to print out just makes sense.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Downtown (K Street, West End, & Foggy Bottom) — Combining Washington (D.C.)/Downtown (West End) and Washington (D.C.)/Foggy Bottom makes sense, given location and the fact that K Street and the West End don't have all that much to write about.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Penn Quarter (Penn Quarter, Chinatown, Judiciary Square, & Mt Vernon Square) — the only thing controversial here is adding Mt Vernon Square/Convention Center, but I think it fits just fine.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Shaw (Shaw, Pleasant Plains, & Le Droit Park) — This rolls Howard University into the district covering smaller "neighborhoods" of Logan Circle, U Street Corridor, & Truxton Circle. But perhaps Howard U and its surrounding neighborhoods should be treated separately?
  • Washington (D.C.)/Waterfront (Southwest & Navy Yard) — Pretty straightforward, I think.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Capitol Hill (Capitol Hill, Kingman Park, & Lincoln Park) — no one living in the latter two neighborhoods will like being called Capitol Hill, but this is a convenient grouping and I can't think of a better name. Real estate agents lie and call all of this Capitol Hill all the time, in any rate.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Dupont Circle (Dupont Circle & Kalorama) — Had to put Kalorama somewhere!


  • Washington (D.C.)/Georgetown — A major destination that fills out an article well. I've already combined it with tiny Burleith.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Adams Morgan (Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, & Columbia Heights) — distinct neighborhoods no doubt, and controversial to call it all Adams Morgan, but the grouping makes sense from a travel perspective.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Woodley Park (Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, McLean Gardens, Cathedral Heights, & Glover Park) — I think it makes sense to combine Woodley Park and Cleveland Park, since they are both relatively low density neighborhoods (in terms of travel-relevant listings). If the article gets too unwieldy, we can always divide later. Is there a better name, though, that wouldn't shortchange Cleveland Park?
  • Washington (D.C.)/Palisades (Palisades, Foxhall, Colony Hill, Kent, Wesley Heights, Berkley, Kent) — Another big, low-density neighborhood. Perhaps not enough to sustain an article, but it's coherent.
  • Washington (D.C.)/AU-Tenleytown (American University Park, Tenleytown) — I'm a bit worried that this won't have enough to sustain an article.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Chevy Chase (Chevy Chase & Friendship Heights) — And all the little uninteresting neighborhoods I already rolled into the Chevy Chase neighborhood on the map. So wealthy it could sustain its own article, but a little boring. Perhaps this could be combined with another Northwest neighborhood.


  • Washington (D.C.)/Near Northeast (Atlas District, NoMa, Gallaudet, Trinidad, Ivy City, Carver Langston, Arboretum, Bloomingdale, Eckington, Brentwood, Langdon, Gateway, Fort Lincoln) — I think this grouping is really convenient. It's less coherent due to the neighborhoods north of the Arboretum, but we need to include them somewhere and it will all fit nicely into a rectangular map. Btw, NoMa is a stupid name.
  • Washington (D.C.)/Northeast (Colonial Village, 16th St Heights, Petworth, Old Soldier's Home, WHC, Edgewood, Brookland, Woodridge, Michigan Park, Fort Totten, Pleasant Hill, Lamond Riggs, Manor Park, Brightwood, Shepherd Park, Crestwood, Old Soldiers Home, Park View) — very big, but very low-density for a traveler. Enough to write a good article, but I honestly don't think it will need further subdivision.


  • Washington (D.C.)/Anacostia (Everything south of the Anacostia River) — I confess this is the one section of the city that I just don't know that well, apart from the rather small "Historic Anacostia" neighborhood. I think it would actually make sense to group all these neighborhoods, at least for the time being until we have more content. I also realize that this is not all southeast dc, much of it is northeast, but the Anacostia title can work, given the river as the defining geographic feature.

That's a full 16 districts. That seems like too many to me, really, for a rather small (albeit dense) city. Perhaps we could combine the latter three districts from the Northwest section into one large "Washington (D.C.)/Northwest" article? Comments/criticism/suggestions are all highly welcome. --Peter Talk 05:21, 9 January 2008 (EST)

At first glance, I like it, but note that parks seem to have been excluded from neighborhoods. Where, then, would you put information about Rock Creek Park? --Jonboy 17:30, 12 January 2008 (EST)
I think that the really enormous parks (Rock Creek, Archibald-Glover, & the Canal) should be dealt with in the main DC article in a "Parks" section of "See"—a good map of Rock Creek Park, its trails, roads, & buildings would be a must. The big parks across the river would all be covered by the Anacostia article, and the Arboretum would fit nicely in the Near Northeast article. Where certain districts have important trailheads (pathheads?), we can note that in either the "Do" or "Get out" sections, I think. One I don't know what to do with is Roosevelt Island—it is located within the DC political boundaries, but it really makes more sense to cover it from Northern Virginia, since that's where the bridge onto the island is located (unless I'm forgetting something). --Peter Talk 20:47, 12 January 2008 (EST)
Well, I'm definitely leaning towards combining the last three Northwest districts into a "Northwest" district to parallel the "Northeast" one (and I've done so on this new districts map). I also think it's best to group the "Adams Morgan" district with the "central" districts, unlike in the above scheme. I also moved to change the "Downtown" name to "West End," since "Downtown" is just too imprecise—that would in my opinion also include the Penn Quarter, and the two blocks south of The Mall. The only other change I've made on the map is to break off "Truxton Circle" from "Shaw" and roll it into the "Near Northeast" article, because the neighborhood is tiny and probably won't register any listings, and because that will make individual district maps easier to make. So, I'm about ready to call this district hierarchy done (albeit open to individual district name changes), and get ready to start fixing up the structure of our DC guides. --Peter Talk 04:50, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Districts reorganization[edit]

I'm just about to reorganize the districts for DC, and I'll document what I'm doing here, because it's complicated (i.e., was a mess):

Note1:Embassy Row is not a neighborhood, it's a long section of just one street, which crosses both the "Dupont Circle" and "Woodley Park" districts. It'll be best to just cover this as a subsection of "See" in the main article (since people have heard of it) and to link the two district articles.

Note2:I've included a bunch of technically NW neighborhoods in the "Northeast" district article. I'll explain in the "Get around" section of the main article, after finishing the reorganization. Basically I'm contending that the NW/NE/SW/SE address quadrants are not useful for understanding travel in DC, as they do not correspond to geographic realities.

--Peter Talk 23:46, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Splitting The Mall[edit]

Splitting the Mall

Ah, now that I've actually tried to create a dedicated National Mall article, I'm realizing that it just won't work as a stand-alone Wikitravel article—there's just not enough material, packed with sites though it may be. Moreover, its significant geographical spread allows it to be chopped up in a way that does make some sense.

This image shows what I'm proposing/doing. I've sent anything south of Independence Ave into the "Waterfront" article, so that means the Holocaust Museum and the Tidal basin and its associated monuments go there. That's kind of nice, since that would group the Tidal Basin with Haines Point, which makes sense from a parking perspective (although woe to the summer parker!). The Washington Monument, West Potomac Park, and the White House are all moved to the "West End," which is also nice because it groups them with adjacent museums that are only technically in Foggy Bottom (and restaurants beloved by the White House staff).

The more awkward grouping becomes the main Mall museum strip, which now goes to the "Penn Quarter." That's nice because it groups together the museums with the many Smithsonian Institute museums that are not actually on the Mall. But then we're calling the main section of the National Mall—one of the top attractions in the USA—merely a part of a downtown neighborhood. But it is just a section of a now carved up National Mall, and I can't think of any better solutions. We can still link heavily to the article from a "National Mall" section of "See" on the main Washington, D.C. article. I'll also make a dedicated National Mall map that cuts across the district boundaries for the main article.

Anyway, I'm just going to plunge forward on this and we can continue the discussion. --Peter Talk 02:23, 21 January 2008 (EST)

ELIMINATE districts[edit]

We need to eliminate districts from this article ASAP. As it is, most of the districts articles have almost no content. The districts themselves make no sense, certainly not to an outside visitor. And important new attractions, such as the Newseum, are not listed ANYWHERE. Sadly, dividing the article into districts has resulted in making the entire article less usable and less relevant for both editors and readers.

Given that Washington DC is a rather small and compact city (both in terms of population and size) I'd favor eliminating all districts and just move back to one article. If we MUST use districts, let's use ones that make sense (like NW, NE, SW, SE) instead of trying to make a page for every neighborhood. It just doesn't work. SONORAMA 22:01, 17 May 2008 (EDT)

Well, it probably won't surprise you that I disagree, since I have vested considerable time and effort in coming up with this districts hierarchy, based largely on my experience creating a districts hierarchy for Chicago. There are clear weaknesses to our D.C. coverage at present; and I'm certainly amenable to adjusting the hierarchy, and improving its presentation; but I don't think reverting the article to the sloppy, shallow mess it was at first would amount to a net benefit. I'll try to address your concerns in turn.
1) Most district articles have almost no content. — True, but that's currently written content; they all have very significant content on the ground just waiting to be written about. The Shaw article is the only one I've had an opportunity to invest much time into, and I think you'll agree that it's a very well developed and useful article (even though I've so far only put in about 2/3 of what I eventually plan to write for that district). When I or other motivated contributors find the time to add content to them, I'm quite confident that each of the district articles will develop into high quality Wikitravel district articles.
There are three exceptions, though: Anacostia will be somewhat deficient in sleep options, since it is so poor, but it absolutely does not fit well with any of the other districts and is geographically separate from the rest of the city. And both Washington, D.C./Northeast and Washington, D.C./Near Northeast might be insufficiently travel-dense to merit individual articles, but my approach has been so far to treat them each separately & to wait and see whether they can survive on their own, since they'd be very easy to combine in the future.
2) The districts themselves make no sense, certainly not to an outside visitor. — That's a bold assertion, since they clearly made sense to me. An outside visitor with no knowledge of the city should not understand a good districts structure without guidance, and that is the job of both the main article, the introductory sections of each district article, and the included maps. I've actually included a full map of the district which shows the exact street boundaries of each district, so I presume that you don't mean they make no sense by being ill defined. I've grouped neighborhoods into districts with two main objectives in mind: 1) that the districts are coherent both geographically & thematically and 2) can fill out all sections of a full district article nicely. I'd challenge you to point out a single district that doesn't meet both those objectives.
I'd also argue that the quick district descriptions on the main article provide a good indication of what to expect for each district, but perhaps you have some ideas for what could be done to make things more clear? Maybe it would be helpful to add "stub" district maps (which showed street boundaries up close, but do not yet include the individual travel icons) to each district article? I could do that pretty quickly. In any rate, my understanding of how to make these things clear is based on the way the Chicago article is organized (and on how the San Francisco article is being organized). If you could point to what exactly is causing confusion, that would help this discussion greatly.
3) Important new attractions, such as the Newseum, are not listed ANYWHERE. — True (and this was just as true before the district hierarchy was created!), please add them! The Newseum, by the way, would go in Washington, D.C./Penn Quarter.
4) Given that Washington DC is a rather small and compact city (both in terms of population and size) I'd favor eliminating all districts and just move back to one article. — Here I couldn't disagree more. D.C. is actually the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., and given that it is the national capital as well as one of the most wealthy and cosmopolitan centers of the country, it has an incredible concentration of things to see and do throughout the district. Moreover, the article was one of our longest before being broken up (way past the point at which we recommend districtification), and several contributors had already voiced support for a split as long ago as the summer of 2006. People started creating an ad hoc district structure without serious planning, which resulted in an overlapping, sloppily defined mess, where it was absolutely not clear where to put content.
5) If we MUST use districts, let's use ones that make sense (like NW, NE, SW, SE) instead of trying to make a page for every neighborhood. It just doesn't work. — I disagree strongly with the first point—the quadrant divisions of D.C. make no sense whatsoever as a travel division. They are arbitrary divisions based on relations to the Capitol Building with no relevance to travel. Moreover, they were developed before the secession of the D.C. territories south & west of the Potomac, so the NW article would therefore cover virtually all the content in the city. The second assertion in this point is simply false, as you can see in the above maps showing all the neighborhoods of D.C. The current district structure amalgamates loads of neighborhoods into a few large districts, and does so based on a careful review of how the neighborhoods can fit together in terms of both geographical & thematic proximity. The notion that we currently have one page per neighborhood is simply false. --Peter Talk 18:00, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
Washington DC's population is, acording to Wikipedia, 588000. It is very small in terms of physical size. Compare this to the other articles that have districts: they are for cities with millions of people spread over a wide area, like New York or Hong Kong. Peter is correct that Washington's small size belies its importance as the nation's capital. The solution, perhaps, is perhaps one that would emphasize the entire region. There are already articles for Arlington VA and Alexandria. These perhaps are the more natural "district" divisions of a larger Washingtno DC article, and preferable to further sub-dividing the DC article.
Peter, you've made some great contributions to the article, no doubt about that. I'm just worried at this point that 1) For those who are not Washington experts, it is not clear what content should go in what district 2) Most visitors plan a trip to "Washington" only, not to a specific district of Washington 3) Washington has no easy to define "districts", as NYC has with Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, etc. When living in or around Washington, the most frequent divisions I hear are "inside the beltway", "Virginia" or "Maryland".
When I use wikipedia as a travel guide, I like to get a quick overview of where downtown is, where most of the hotels are, etc. That is what is missing from this guide -- the information is spread throughout 13 district articles. Most people don't have the time to crawl through each one. I'd suggest we eliminate the districts with little or no content and merge together the others down to 3 to 5 cohesive articles. SONORAMA 05:51, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Hmm, in part I think the problem stems from the fact that I assembled what I consider to be a "final" district hierarchy, when the policy on districting recommends that you first break cities down into larger chunks, and then wait until there is enough content to justify further breaking down. I did this because I intended to fill out the district articles quickly—but lately I've become quite busy with offline affairs.

I've got two ideas on how to make the district structure more digestible right away. First, there are two pairs of articles that could easily be combined: Northwest+Woodley Park & Near Northeast+Northeast. We could still break those apart at some later date, if the content gets too overwhelming (and it could for the Northwest amalgamation), but they make sense together. Second, we could group the districts into 4 categories that would look like this:

DC districts map grouped.png
Downtown (Penn Quarter, West End, Waterfront)
The National Mall, DC's main theater district, Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian museums galore, fine dining, Chinatown, the Verizon Center, the Convention Center; the central business district, the White House, West Potomac Park, the Kennedy Center, George Washington University, the beautiful Tidal Basin, and the new Nationals Stadium.
North Central (Dupont Circle, Shaw, Adams Morgan)
D.C.'s trendiest and most diverse neighborhoods and destination #1 for live music and clubbing, as well as loads of restaurants, Howard University, boutique shopping, beautiful embassies, jazz on U Street, and lots of nice hotels.
West (Georgetown, Northwest)
The prestigious, wealthy side of town, home to the historic village of Georgetown with its energetic nightlife & fine dining, the National Zoo, the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks, the bulk of D.C.'s high-end shopping, more of Embassy Row, American University, and plenty of nice dining strips.
East (Capitol Hill, Northeast, Anacostia)
The yin to the West's yang: Starting at the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress, and fanning out past grandiose Union Station and the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, to the less often visited neighborhoods by Gallaudet and Catholic Universities, historic black Anacostia, D.C.'s "Little Vatican" around the National Shrine, the huge National Arboretum, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, bohemian nightlife in the Atlas District, and a handful of eccentric neighborhoods to explore.

I've been thinking about grouping them together like that for a while now (and I'll revamp those hastily written descriptions). The advantage is that the structure becomes much more digestible, especially at first glance. The disadvantage is that we then don't have descriptions for each district right up front—but that may have seemed overwhelming.

I'll try to address each of your concerns:

1) I think that would be resolved if I put up stub district maps for each district on each district page, as per my suggestion above.

2) True, but it still seems useful to me to organize content by districts, since there is so much content in the city. Visitors who only want to stay downtown & see the Mall shouldn't have to wade through content about the North Central neighborhoods or Anacostia—they should just flip to the 3 downtown district articles. I considered creating just one article for the "downtown," but that article would be huge—there is an unparalleled number of attractions in downtown DC (check the map on the main article)—and way too big to cover on foot.

3) NYC is a beast of a different order & actually has two levels of districts, the first being Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, and the second being additional district hierarchies to each of the first (Manhattan has 20 sub-districts!). And really, you can't spend much time in D.C. without hearing people talk about Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, etc.—these are tourist hotspots (outside of downtown), that are commonly understood. That and the fact that I have defined each district down to exact street borders should make things clear for contributors (especially once I put up individual district maps like the one for Washington, D.C./Anacostia.

With regards to understanding where the hotels are, that's just a fault of this article being underdeveloped—I haven't written the overview sleep section yet. When I do (and I'll take a stab at it today), it should provide links to the most hotel-dense districts (Penn Quarter, Dupont Circle, Shaw, & Georgetown), as well as an overview of what to expect where. Ideally, readers should navigate mostly from the main article (rather than crawling all district pages), which should make it clear where to find the attractions, dining, nightlife, hotels, etc. of most interest to each individual traveler. See Chicago for a good example of how I think this should look when finished. --Peter Talk 14:07, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Peter, the changes you propose sound good. I agree that the article needs districts. I also like the changes you made on the main article about hotels. Usually, when I travel, that is the first/most important that I'm looking for, so it's always a good idea to emphasize where to find lodging information. SONORAMA 02:45, 21 May 2008 (EDT)

Revisited, by Michael 3000[edit]

I don't know where you came up with this idea but it's a disaster. No one in D.C. is familiar with this and if a tourist relies upon this system in planning their trip they will likely get lost. There is absolutely no reason not to use the Quadrant system. Most of D.C.'s major attractions are in NW and most tourists spend their time in NW and SW. There is no reason you cannot list some neighborhoods but you needn't list all. For example the only things in the West End relevant to tourists are some expensive hotels.

It doesn't matter how long someone spent on the article if it sucks. Let's tear it down and start over. This time let's do it properly. I run into tourists in the city every day it seems and if I tell them to go to Chinatown it would be useful for them to know where that is rather than some 'district'. - Michael 3000 02:31, 9 March 2010 (EST)

If you want to map out a suggested alternative scheme for discussion, then please do so. It can then go through the normal Wiktiravel process of concensus building to see if there is agreement for change.
I must say that you have not started off terribly well though by calling work "garbage" and saying "it sucks", before making any valid contribution to the site yourself.--Burmesedays 02:46, 9 March 2010 (EST)
Actually I did make a valid contribution. I amended the 'Get Around' by car section to be more factual and relevant. Lines like "Driving in D.C. is difficult" are pure opinion and can be said of any city in the world. I think it is better to say something factual such as 'D.C. has the highest accident rate in the country' and back it up with a link. There is already an alternative to the District system. It is called the quadrant system and was laid out by L'Enfant and Ellicot back in 1791-1792. All addresses in D.C., all maps of D.C., and all directions within and to and from the city are expressed in terms of quadrants. There is nothing wrong with the system already in place.
And the 'Garbage' I refer to is the editorializing and the opinions and political rhetoric. Anyone from the D.C. area can see that the article is horribly slanted. It is written almost as if designed to discourage people from visiting D.C. - Michael 3000 03:46, 9 March 2010 (EST)
I've already addressed the idea that the quadrants should be used as articles above, but I will repeat it for your convenience:
The quadrant divisions of D.C. make no sense whatsoever as a travel division. They are arbitrary divisions based on relations to the Capitol Building with no relevance to travel. Moreover, they were developed before the secession of the D.C. territories south & west of the Potomac, so the NW article would therefore cover virtually all the content in the city. The second assertion in this point is simply false, as you can see in the above maps showing all the neighborhoods of D.C. The current district structure amalgamates loads of neighborhoods into a few large districts, and does so based on a careful review of how the neighborhoods can fit together in terms of both geographical & thematic proximity.
The notion that the quadrants are relevant to anything other than the address system is one fairly widespread with people either new to or otherwise unfamiliar with the city, and perhaps it would be worthwhile to make this a bit more clear in the main article. We use districts on Wikitravel to break content down into manageable chunks for travelers, and each district should be organized so that it supports a good travel article—not too bloated, not too thin. I'll add the same pointers as I have to your comments at Talk:Washington, D.C.: please look over Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Districts in cities, as well as other Wikitravel:Star articles, which break down content into manageable travel districts in the same manner as in this article. --Peter Talk 10:47, 9 March 2010 (EST)
'New to or unfamiliar with the city.' That's a good one. I've lived in the area for 30+ years. Having worked in the West End, I know that there is nothing there apart from a few pricey hotels and the offices of some law firms. I would be willing to wager than I know D.C. just a bit better than you do. Were you in D.C. when the basketball team was still called the Bullets, and they played in Maryland? How about a time when National Airport was still called National Airport? Of course, locals still call it National Airport. Ever see any shows at the famous Bayou in Georgetown before it closed in 1998? I did. Were you in the city the last time the Redskins won the Super Bowl? If not then I think you need to quit talking trash. - Michael 3000 13:25, 9 March 2010 (EST)
Is it impossible for you you to communicate in a reasonable, pleasant and polite manner? --Burmesedays 20:53, 9 March 2010 (EST)
"The notion that the quadrants are relevant to anything other than the address system is one fairly widespread with people either new to or otherwise unfamiliar with the city" - this a rather condescending and contentious sentence. I replied to this condescending message with an assertive message of my own. At worst I have done no more than to lower myself to the level of the previous poster. In the future I will try to refrain from sinking to such a level. - Michael 3000 00:46, 10 March 2010 (EST)

Districts section[edit]

Discussion moved here from Talk:Washington, D.C.#Districts section

I don't want to rehash the discussion as to whether or not the "Districts" section is warranted. I absolutely believe that it is; however, I have a few gripes I wanted to discuss here first:

1. It may be convenient to call all of wards 7 and 8 "Anacostia", and give readers the impression that Adams Morgan extends all through Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Petworth; however, anybody who uses this information as a guide will surely be confused when they're wandering around Park Road while trying to find Tryst or Madams Organ. If the names of the actual neighborhoods are going to be used, then they should be labeled appropriately.

2. I think labeling what is appropriately termed "Upper northwest" as simply "Northwest", and labeling everything as far as 16th Street NW as "Northeast" is just setting tourists up for failure, especially when they learn that "Northwest" means everything north and west of the Capitol.

I'm all for trying to simplify D.C.'s complicated toponymy, but it has to be done in a way that is both concise and precise. Why not just label the areas with their actual names? In the end, I believe that cuts out most of the confusion that would invariably haunt readers. Best, 19:07, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

First, please see Talk:Washington, D.C./Districts discussion. Some of the points you are making here have already been addressed there. Anyway:
1. I could put up my comprehensive neighborhoods map, if that would help. Also, I can shade in the individual district maps to show individual neighborhoods, where this is useful. District articles will also contain maps and addresses, so I don't understand why a visitor would "wander around Park Road" looking for Madams Organ. It also states in the first sentence of that article that the three neighborhoods are distinct. Ultimately, I think it makes sense from a travel perspective to combine those neighborhoods in the way that they are—the name isn't so important, and if you have suggestions, I'm all ears. (And "Anacostia" is how much of the city actually refers to everything east of the river.)
2. (This point has already been addressed at length, I believe, in the districts discussion.) I think the disparity between the address designations and the districts as drawn can be explained in the understand section pretty easily. The address designations NW, NE, SW, & SE have no travel relevance whatsoever beyond addresses, so using them as travel districts would be a mistake.
The most important considerations in defining districts are the travel articles they will produce (i.e., not spreading out content too far and not consolidating too much info into one monster article). And I don't understand what you mean by "label the areas with their actual names"—would you please clarify. --Peter Talk 00:08, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I saw the previous link, but it brought me to an anchor in the middle of the page and I didn't notice the discussion above it, only the stuff about getting rid of the districts.
My main concern here is about the way the neighborhoods and these artificial "Districts" distort how the city is actually grouped together. I mean, looking at New York, they actually use the names that everybody else uses to describe them; they divide the city into boroughs, and then each burough into recognizable districts (e.g. Downtown, Midtown, etc.) If a tourist at McPherson Square used this map and asked me "How do I get to Northwest Washington?", I would respond "You're in it". I think that's a problem.
These artificially created districts also give the impression that they are somehow grouped together. For example, I would not lump Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, and Mount Pleasant together into a single group... in fact, Adams Morgan has almost nothing in common with the other two. That's what I meant by jokingly implying that people would be looking for bars and restaurants on Park Road. I think that Dupont, Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, and U Street are more "linked" as the restaurant-music-club area and would submit that they be grouped as a "district".
Further, is there a reason that every single place has to be shaded and/or included? I mean, surely there's no need to discuss what are primarily residential areas in upper northwest, most of Wards 4 7 and 8, 16th Street Heights, northeast D.C., etc. Best, 01:01, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

I am not super familiar with D.C., but it seems to me it might be wise to avoid direction-based district names given the very specific address-quadrant system. LtPowers 12:37, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

All parts of the map should be shaded in, because per the Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy, there should always be a place to put travel information. In 16th st heights, for example, there is one great diner that I would include in the guide (although I can't recall the name right now). Ward 7 is definitely the emptiest of D.C.'s quarters, but there are a good two things there that visitors should know about: Miss Charlotte's Crab Cakes and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Those are both big reasons in my view to visit the area (although I realize that few visitors to the city do). There's no need to waste time discussing neighborhoods with nothing to offer a traveler, but there's also no harm in tossing them in districts with other more interesting neighborhoods, and then ignoring them.
The New York districts are still messy. Manhattan is the only division with reasonable subdivisions, but still 19 districts is probably a bit too much. Brooklyn really needs districts, but the list is way too long, and neighborhoods will need to be grouped as they are here.
The neighborhood groupings are intentional, and are designed to give the impression that they should be grouped together. It's easier to talk about specifics, so lets turn our attention to them. The Adams Morgan grouping is pretty clearly united in its brand of slightly off-beat nightlife catering to 23-30 year-olds. That and Latin-American ethnic food. I'm basing that on my experience, since my friends and I always hung out in those neighborhoods on the same night. Shaw or Dupont Circle, on the other hand, offer different types of dining and nightlife, catering to fashionable 30-40s in Shaw, upscale dining and yuppie nightlife in Dupont, etc.
The reason to keep Dupont, Shaw, and Adams Morgan separate, is that they all can maintain their own articles. Take a look at the Washington, D.C./Shaw article I've been working on. It's a nice big, coherent article. Dupont and Adams Morgan both can also support long travel articles packed with interesting things to see do eat buy drink sleep. Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights cannot; hence the need to roll them in with another neighborhood, and I think Adams Morgan is the best place to put them. I understand your point about wanting to keep U St and 18th St together, but I think its worth it to keep Shaw a distinct article, since its rich African-American history (and jazz scene) makes for a very thematically coherent travel article. One decade of partial gentrification and hip nightlife doesn't really trump that for me.
Point taken about directionally named neighborhoods. How do we avoid trouble in this regard? Do we change Northwest and Northeast to Upper Northwest, Upper Northeast? In any other city this would be much simpler, since they wouldn't have the goofy address grid. --Peter Talk 13:31, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, not *any* other city; Albuquerque uses it too. =) "Upper" would probably work, although "Outer" might be more descriptive. LtPowers 16:27, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
I would definitely agree with renaming Northwest "Upper Northwest", since that's its name. If somebody asked me "How do I get to upper Northwest", I would definitely know what they meant. As for northeast... well, northeast is just a mess (even the Washington City Paper had problems trying to name it. I do think it's a problem calling it northeast as well, simply because of the good chunk of the green area that's actually in northwest, which I think would be confusion. I would be okay with just calling it "Brookland", since that's at least the name of a neighborhood. I mean, if Adams Morgan can consume Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights, and Anacostia (which I feel is colloquially considered to be only southeast D.C.) can be used to name the entire forgotten strip to the east of the river, then I think Brookland can adequately describe the area. Best, 02:28, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
I don't know that I would go for Brookland to describe "Northeast," just since Takoma is a different and just as important neighborhood from a travel perspective, IMO. "Brookland-Takoma-Petworth" would work, but that's pretty long. I'll think about this one some more, but the main aspect of the district is that it is a leftover region of the city of all neighborhoods east of Rock Creek.
Perhaps it might be better to rename Washington, D.C./Adams Morgan to "Adams Morgan-Columbia Heights," a la Chicago/Bridgeport-Chinatown? That can be a good way to combine neighborhoods. And Mount Pleasant is definitely the junior partner in this grouping, in terms of size & travel relevance, I think (don't get me wrong, I really love the neighborhood). --Peter Talk 08:36, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
I actually like both of those ideas. I don't think "Brookland-Takoma-Petworth" is too long. If anything, I don't even think Takoma really needs to have its own mention... I don't think it's any more important than Chinatown, Woodley/Cleveland Park, or Mount Pleasant. And yes, I think Adams Morgan-Columbia Heights would definitely be a more appropriate term. Enjoy the storm! Best, 11:06, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
Done. --Peter Talk 11:58, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

National Mall[edit]

It still seems weird to me to have the Mall and museums split among two or three districts. I'm afraid the average traveler is going to be looking for Mall information and balk a bit when told they need to print out two articles to get "both halves". LtPowers 09:26, 19 December 2008 (EST)

Yeah, I'm not terribly happy with this either. My softest approach was to make that National Mall map with just attractions listed. But maybe it's necessary to give it its own article, separate from any actual neighborhoods, and devoid of buy/eat/sleep/drink listings. If we were to do that, I'd suggest we actually include less than what is on the Mall map in the main article—so that there would be no overlap with the Penn Quarter or West End districts. --Peter Talk 13:28, 19 December 2008 (EST)

My suggestion would be to keep the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American History, and National Museum of Natural History in the Penn Quarter article, since they all border the district. (everything from Constitution Avenue, northward) I definitely think of the National Gallery of Art and the ice rink as part of Penn Quarter. Though, it might work to overlap those listings on a "National Mall" page. Anything about the other museums, on the other side of the mall, is indeed out of place in the Penn Quarter article, nor is that the place to give a quick overview of the history of the National Mall.

For the West End article, it should cover everything north of Constitution Avenue and west of 15th St. (including the White House) Everything south of Constitution Avenue and west of 15th St should go in the National Mall article, make it include the waterfront area. Areas on the Mall east of 15th St can go in the National Mall article, with possible exception or cross-listing of the three museums along Constitution Avenue that border Penn Quarter. Aude 00:01, 3 January 2009 (EST)

Below is a sketch of my recommendation. Aude 00:15, 3 January 2009 (EST)

Possible districts for D.C. pages, suggested by User:Aude

And, I wouldn't call the Penn Quarter article by that name. Penn Quarter is really only the area between 4th and 10th St., and Constitution Ave to F or G St. NW, and not that entire area. "East End" would work better as a name, and then we have "West End" which is fine. Aude 00:18, 3 January 2009 (EST)

I think there is consensus for a National Mall article, though we still need to figure out some specifics. Since inauguration is coming up soon, I'm plunging forward with the Washington, D.C./National Mall page, to start getting it in shape. Of course, I'm open to ideas, discussion, input, assistance, collaboration, or whatever. I'm still undecided on what to do with the museums on Constitution Avenue. I think the bulk of the details can go in the National Mall article, but they are also worth cross-listing in the Penn Quarter article, since they sort are part of both areas. As we plunge forward, this can shake out. Aude 16:19, 3 January 2009 (EST)
Yeah, it would be ideal to get the D.C. articles in proper shape for the inauguration (Dupont Circle is a total mess with all sorts of bad recommendations—I'll try and tackle that one).
I think the natural area for the National Mall article is the parkland itself. So I definitely think the museums just below Constitution Ave (e.g., National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American History, and National Museum of Natural History) belong in the National Mall article. I can't imagine a Mall article without them. The basic principle of a huge city district organization is that there be no overlap (and no gaps), so I wouldn't want to see them included in both the Mall and the Penn Quarter articles. They would, however, naturally belong in the Get out section of the Penn Quarter article.
Renaming Penn Quarter to East End sounds like a fine idea. It looks from your map, though, that you're cutting out sections of the city from that article that are currently included in the district (north of NY and MA aves). I'd really prefer we stick to the boundaries set on the map in the article, since those areas fit better in an East End article than in Shaw or Near Northeast articles.
I'd also prefer that we don't subsume the Waterfront article into the National Mall article. The main point of having a separate Mall article is so that all information on the Mall is in one handy article for printing. Information on Waterfront hotels, Navy Yard, the Waterfront itself, and Nationals Stadium should be in a separate article. (Including the Tidal Basin in the Mall article is a no-brainer though—the northern border for the Waterfront on that side should be, I think, I-395.) The Mall article should have a well developed Get out section to refer visitors to the museums in the East End, the White House (which I agree should remain in the West End article), and to the museums just south of the Mall.
Lastly, I'd prefer to keep the eastern boundary of the West End at 14th St. Even though that's a little counterintuitive, it groups the White House Visitor Center with the White House, which I think is important. --Peter Talk 16:52, 3 January 2009 (EST)
I'll try to follow your advice, best as possible. It will all shake out fine. The areas north of NY and MA Ave do not really go into "Penn Quarter", which is specifically defined, but they would go find into an "East End" page. I haven't sorted out the White House area yet.
I looked at the Waterfront article, and now see it includes the Navy Yard and stadium areas. Those are fine, as-is, but I thought it odd to include the Jefferson Memorial in that section, so the Tidal Basin and all is going into the National Mall article. I would be happy to fix up the Dupont Circle and Georgetown pages (I mostly wrote the corresponding Wikipedia article), but help would be good too. The Arlington page also needs work, and I see you doing good work with the Anacostia page :). Aude 17:04, 3 January 2009 (EST)
I've updated the districts map now to reflect our new structure. I can't help with the Arlington, but Georgetown is an old home for me—I'll take a whack at it. --Peter Talk 17:32, 3 January 2009 (EST)

Alteration of the utmost gravity[edit]

For avid watchers of Wikitravel D.C. organization, I've moved Swampoodle out of the East End, and into Capitol Hill. It fits more naturally with Union Station, is divided from the rest of the East End by I-395, and isn't of touristic importance anyway. --Peter Talk 23:38, 25 June 2009 (EDT)

To paraphrase Congressman Pete Hoekstra, now I know exactly how the Iranian protesters feel. Gorilla Jones 23:44, 25 June 2009 (EDT)
OK, I'm loathe to ever type this, but that one gave me a full LOL. --Peter Talk 00:25, 26 June 2009 (EDT)

East D.C.[edit]

To revisit the naming of that big leftover region east of Rock Creek, I'd like to suggest we switch from Washington, D.C./Brookland-Takoma-Petworth to Washington, D.C./East D.C. The first is a little too long an agglomeration for my taste, and makes no mention of the Atlas District! "East D.C." is a pretty big fudge, but it gets the point across, and we'll define the boundaries via map anyway. There is room for confusion with the quadrant names (NE & SE), but we can just explain that away in the article's intro. Thoughts? --Peter Talk 02:36, 15 September 2009 (EDT)

I rather expect I won't see any other comments on this for some time, so I'll just go ahead and move it. If someone objects within a reasonable timespan, I'll just move it back. --Peter Talk 16:58, 21 September 2009 (EDT)

This article title is still grating on my nerves. I just think the only name appropriate is "Northeast"—I'd never call it anything else in casual conversation. And rather obviously, it is the northeastern section of the city. While yes, this creates some ambiguity with the quadrant names (for addresses), I think that can be cleared up via a direct statement at the top of the article. Far from perfect, but still better than made up "East D.C." or borderline preposterous Brookland-Takoma-Petworth. --Peter Talk 18:07, 2 December 2009 (EST)

And it is done. Hopefully for good. I do feel much better about this naming, as it is something anyone from the city will easily recognize (in discussion with anyone using this guide). --Peter Talk 18:01, 22 January 2010 (EST)

Why is Petworth in an district called Northeast? Most of Petworth is in the NW quadrant....

Near Northeast is totally different than Brookland - should have a separate district.....

District name issues[edit]

Hi, I have some issues with the district names and the map.

For one, the name Northeast on the map is incorrect, as Northeast only starts at North Capitol Street (that curving N-S line in the middle of Northeast.) It could be confusing, like if you think you're in NE but the street signs say NW. Maybe rename it something else?

Another is that East End is a pretty uncommon name here. Maybe call it East Downtown or just Downtown?

The name West End is inaccurate, because the West End is actually a pretty small neighborhood -- its southern border is Penn. Ave, and south of Penn is Foggy Bottom. Maybe call that area West Downtown or West End/Foggy Bottom?

Your thoughts? --Awiseman 13:13, 1 August 2010 (EDT)



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