City Living Discussed at Tommy Wells’ Book Club

by Shilpi Paul


Councilmember Tommy Wells and DC’s Director of Planning Harriet Tregoning led a book club last night at the Shaw public library, the first stop on Tommy’s Traveling Book Club.

Wells picked Triumph of the City as the first book, a bestseller by urban economist Edward Glaeser, which seeks to prove that cities are the healthiest, greenest and most innovative places in the world.

Wells and Tregoning were joined by a well-read crowd of 40 or so, and like any good book club, there were questions, disagreements, varying interpretations and snacks. The leaders brought up many of Glaeser’s ideas and explored their implications in DC.

Some of the author’s main points:

  • Health and Livability — People who live in cities are healthier and more environmentally-friendly than those who don’t, despite the leafy, running-around-in-the-grass look of the suburbs. Wells spoke about how to make DC more desirable to the inflow of citizens, including creating green space, improving schools, slowing down traffic and providing amenities like grocery stores.
  • Affordable Housing — Cities need to increase their housing supply to push prices down. Tregoning brought up some idiosyncrasies in DC that would limit this theory; if the supply of housing increases in the District, wealthy Marylanders and Northern Virginians might move into town, keeping prices high and pushing them higher.
  • Poverty and Mixed-Income Development People without jobs and not tied down to homes are extremely mobile. If need be, they can travel to a city that has the best social services and this, Tregoning thought, is something cities need to consider. She also talked about the importance of DC’s continued support of mixed-income housing, so that lower-income individuals have access to neighbors who may be able to help them.
  • Tall Buildings — Glaeser loves tall buildings full of people, and sees historic preservation as limiting. Tregoning, however, noted that shorter, historic buildings are part of what draw people to places like DC and Paris.
  • Retail — In the age of Amazon and Etsy, where almost anything can be found online, Glaeser believes that people will still pay for experiential retail (i.e. an exceptional meal or a great haircut). Tregoning and the group pondered how to use that knowledge to help local retailers adapt.
  • Interaction — City dwellers benefit from their neighbors, generating new ideas and networking. Wells touted programs like Capital Bikeshare that make it easy for citizens to stay in touch with each other.

Tommy’s Traveling Book Club will meet again in April. Stay tuned for the book.

See other articles related to: tommy wells, harriet tregoning, edward glaeser

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/city_living_tommys_traveling_book_club_cities/4711

0 Comments — Be the First!

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾