Representations of the City

Maps show racial divides in Greater Washington

Racial divide is something that is evident in the varying sectors of of D.C. after having looked at this map by Eric Fisher. It illustrates that most of the white people inhabiting D.C. tend to live together generally in the NW and SW sector of the district, while many of the black people tend to all live on the the NE and SE side of the district, especially in Anacostia. I like this map because it starkly shows something about the city and how there is “difference” in the city whether it is noticed or not. Racial divide is not something that I tend to notice in D.C. having lived in NW Washington my whole life, but there is a clear distinction between where people of differing races have situated themselves throughout the city to live. Anacostia has typically be known to have a high black population, which makes me wonder what it is that has caused the black population to isolate themselves to that area or if the area isolating them? Having driven through Anacostia it tends to be a fairly run down and dilapidated area. For some people, this neighborhood is all they can afford, which makes me think of The Street by Ann Petry and the question can “the other half” can climb up the social ladder and chase the American Dream or if it is an illusion? Many people who live in the eastern side of the district tend to never leave these areas due to their lack of income or race making them much poorer areas of the city and demonstrate that there is disparity in D.C. within varying levels of economic class and race.

Amid glittering renewal, violence evokes a neighborhood’s bloody past

Gentrification is very large around D.C., especially in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Dr. McCade of Georgetown University spoke to my class last week about the very evident gentrification in this area of the city and the violence that seemingly has not escaped. With the new high rise buildings and the refurbished Giant grocery store, Shaw’s new population is facing high rents and expensive restaurants, yet there is a still a group of underprivileged people being crowded out. This has caused them to resort to violence, something that is typical of this area. Gun violence and homicide are very high in this neighborhood and it is something that is a constant reminder of the violent past in this area. I have decided to go on my next exploration to Shaw in order to attempt to understand and observe the gentrification of this area of D.C.

DC Gentrification by the Numbers: DataLensDC

Having just started talking about gentrification in class after having read Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, I decided to start researching data about gentrification in D.C. I came across this article that identifies some of the characteristics of gentrification in D.C., which they define as poorer neighborhoods developing into wealthier ones. Through their research they found that the newer neighborhoods and upcoming areas such as the Navy Yard, Chinatown, and Mt. Vernon have experienced huge spikes in income, whereas the poorer neighborhoods, especially along the Anacostia, have experienced a decline in income. They also found out that the level of African Americans has not risen in the predominantly African American neighborhoods and that it has decreased in many of the other areas. Finally, the author discovered that the population of children has decreased, which means that more people are either single or wealthier without having to finance a child’s life. Having read this article, I need to note the disparity within the neighborhoods I visit in my project and also see if there is anything else I notice that is different among these neighborhoods that could explain gentrification in that neighborhood.

Also, this is a great article about four neighborhoods in D.C. that are being targeted by developers due to their high crime rate and poor population as places for redevelopment. This would be a prime example of gentrification occurring in D.C.:

Yes, 14th Street may be better these days, but something vital is missing

In class, we read the Introduction to Sharon Zukin’s Book Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, which speaks of how New York is constantly shedding the past (physically and emotionally) due to the constant influx of more upscale housing and retail in previously poorer, yet extremely authentic neighborhoods. This in turn forces people to move due to their inability to afford to live in these now more expensive parts of the city. The Washington Post wrote this article about 14th Street, one of the new “happening” areas of the city, but how there has been a drastic change in population, living standards, and landscape/retail space in this area. I must keep this in mind during this project because I need to note how the population has changed in the newer neighborhoods (if its has at all) and how the current neighborhood contrasts with the past. Having just started reading The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu, I have come to understand that gentrification has occurred in areas all throughout the city such as Logan Circle and I hope to expose the areas in D.C. where this is taking place.

*Also posted under “Course Notes” page

Summer Break


I came across this YouTube mini series about a year ago and what I love about it is the young, local perspective obtained through the videos. This mini series follows the lives of recently graduated high school seniors or rising seniors in high school in L.A. during the summer. The videos are short and document just the everyday lives and activities of these local teens. I love the fact that it  shows some of the things that people of this age demographic like to do in the summer, but the things that they do or the places they go aren’t “classic” L.A. places, but are everyday trendy spots around where they live. The current and youthful perspective of the Summer Break episodes is something I hope to bring to my Digital Scrapbook and Instagram and also makes me realize that D.C’s youthful voices tend to be overshadowed by the adults and powerful individuals in the city, which motivates me to have a strong voice in this project.

Washingtonian Magazine’s Visitor’s Guide


Having explored the Visitor’s Guide on the Washingtonian Magazine’s website, I have found an example of what I am trying to stray away from in my Digital Scrapbook and Instagram. My whole idea behind this project was to expose the less known and up and coming parts of D.C. from a local’s perspective while avoiding the “typical” attractions and activities of D.C. While I know that some people come to D.C. to see things like the White House and the Capitol building, I am trying to suggest new things for people to do, like heading down to 14th Street or attend a concert at U Street Music Hall. When I went to the section under “Sights” it suggests going to the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and other quintessential D.C. sights like the Smithsonian, or under “Shopping” it lists multiple stores such as Full of Beans or Urban Chic, stores I am well aware of closing a while ago. These demonstrates that the website has not been updated in a while, something that I will not allow to happen during the course of this project or even after its concluded. I want this Instagram and Digital Scrapbook to serve as a current guide to all things D.C. and I want to remain on top of what is happening around the city in order to keep my followers informed. Through this article I am made aware of the narrowness of people’s perspective of D.C. and it is my hope to expand people’s knowledge and idea of this amazing city by exposing the other side of D.C.

Timeout NYC

Something that I really like about this website and drew inspiration from was the the section of the website called “New York Neighborhoods,” which you can find if you scroll down on the main page. Something that I am trying to do in my Instagram and throughout this Digital Scrapbook is to shine a light on the varying neighborhoods of D.C. and the attractions and current trending spots within them. Once you click on a neighborhood it takes you to a new page in which it suggests activities, restaurants, etc., something I am attempting to do on this blog and the Instagram, just not as in depth. I like the idea of suggesting places for people to visit or things to do when in each of the varying neighborhoods as a way helping the people to immerse themselves in the neighborhood and culture. It is my hope to also expose the differences and the differing identities of each of the neighborhoods, all of which compose the city as a whole.


DC Cool

Many people wonder about what is happening on “the scene” nowadays. This website provides a great example through an easy to navigate webpage about what and where the popular things to do in DC are right now. Between where to eat, what to do, and where to stay, this website is a great tool to discover where the current “hot spots” in the city are. This website works in a similar way in which I want my Instagram to, which is to help people stay up to date on the trends in D.C. and I hope to add to the existing body of knowledge of the “current” places and events in D.C. This website reminds me of the idea of recognition in Michael Zadoorian’s The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, in which older, crumbling places are waiting to be recognized and rebuilt and one of my ideas behind this Instagram was to bring attention and recognition to some of the newer attractions, neighborhoods identities, restaurants etc. in D.C., something that this website does a great job of.

Interactive Map of Washington D.C. 

This interactive map of D.C. is a great tool to help you not only navigate the city, but also outlines and lists many of the great attractions, restaurants, museums, and activities that make up all parts of Washington while providing you with more information and their locations. I hope that my Instagram functions like an interactive map, yet the locations and descriptions can be found in the pictures, which makes the Instagram similar to a “digital picture map.” Having seen this map in a whole, it gives me a holistic sense of the city one a macro level, but also that D.C. is composed of many neighborhoods on a micro level, which I must seek to identify yet also exemplify how they function together collectively in forming one city.


D.C. Though the Eyes of the House of Cards Title Sequence:

This opening title sequence of the famous Netflix original series House of Cards displays accurate and precise images of all different parts of Washington. Having lived in D.C. my entire life this sequence does a great job of incorporating varying areas of the city and for a local citizen like myself, I can picture all of these locations seeing these are all streets I have driven or walked on or places that I see in my daily life. I hope that I can fully cover D.C.’s many neighborhoods through my Instagram and Digital Scrapbook in order to expose the varying populations and diversity of the city.

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