Living in Washington D.C for two weeks gives me the perspective of a strong collaborative process in infrastructure development. One of the example is the initiative for the 11th Street Bridge Park that involve many entities from federal level to neighborhoods level. The bridge that will connect west and east part of D.C equipped by healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts facilities. The bridge that is not built for transportation moda but for community recreation. The bridge that will give a new perspective on how a bridge can be a fun place for community development.
Here is the story. The Anacostia River geographically divides Washington D.C into eastern and western part. The eastern part is the historic Anacostia neighborhoods while the western part is Capitol Hill one. These two areas are very different in term of development. The Anacostia neighborhoods for decades faces disinvestment, low homeownership, and high poverty and unemployment. This is the atmosphere I felt during my visit to Anacostia neighborhoods. However, the governments helped by the nonprofit organizations, community, universities do try hard to make this eastern area equitable by providing a space that will trigger it’s development through the 11th Street Bridge Park.
However, the bridge development is not easy and smooth. Up to now the process has took two years. It has involved hundred of activities such as meeting among stakeholders, local community, governments, socialization, community, conducting festivals, placemaking initiatives for collaborate Anacostia neighborhoods needs and perspective for the construction. There has been agreed that each entity involved has their own responsibility, for example THEARC, the nonprofit organization, responsible for community-driven program and planning on how the bridge look like based on communities' input. The Transportation department od D.C is responsible for construct the bridge base, the private sectors or investor is responsible for developing upper part of the park bridge, and many other entity.
The Park Bridge's Design Winner. It Took 7 Months to Decide How The Bridge Will Look Like. (Courtesy of OMA+OLIN)
The bridge is targeted to be built in 2019 and give many benefit for the community on two side of the river. The activities on the bridge park will provide the job opportunities
prioritized for the surrounding neighborhoods. The local small business
will develop results in the increase the economic development in that area. The housing value surrounding the bridge will also increase and the community life can also be increase as they have a place to do recreations
. These will create equity between eastern and western parts of the river.
The street bridge park has taught me that a bridge cannot just be a bridge, it can be a place for everyone to have fun and in other hands, in developing an infrastructure it is important to involve surrounding stakeholders. This amazing concept can also be applied for my hometown. Pontianak has a lot of canals that become important part shaping community culture. Pontianak people use the canal for daily needs as well as for recreation. The young people like to swim and jump into the canal, the sports activities such as kano is commonly done. If this kind of bridge build in Pontianak, I believe it will be a great initiative to increase the value of the canal while providing an appropriate recreation facilities for the surrounding neighborhoods.