Highlights from DCMC Economic Development BIB

Economic development, affordable housing and neighborhood initiatives were the topic at the Washington, DC Marketing Center’s first Business Initiatives Breakfast (BIB) of the year, held on Thursday, February 18, 2005.

A View from the Top—Robert Bobb and Sharon Ambrose on Economic Development,” provided the audience of 150 an opportunity to hear directly from some of the District’s most prominent leaders. Speaking at the event were Ward 6 Council member Sharon Ambrose, City Administrator Robert Bobb and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Stanley Jackson.

Council member Ambrose spoke on the importance of maintaining the District’s current affordable housing inventory. While she believed new housing was needed in DC, she commented that the maintenance of existing affordable housing is also important.

City Administrator Robert Bobb gave the capacity crowd a sense of the initiatives his office is focusing on, among them the New Communities Initiative, commercial corridors and boulevards, DC economic development and an increase of jobs for District residents.

The New Communities Initiative looks to the District’s most distressed neighborhoods and employs methods to transform them into vibrant and productive areas. Mr. Bobb explained that the transformation will occur through focusing on “human architecture.” In short, human architecture centers on the needs of people in the community by providing health clinics, schools and homeownership programs.

Mr. Bobb’s commercial corridors and boulevards initiative is a program focusing on the creation of great streets. The program will offer detailed plans for DC’s major corridors and main streets to ensure that the streetscape and land uses reinforces the beauty of the neighborhood and provides appropriate services to the residents. The City Administrator is looking to expand the District’s economic development initiatives by seeking companies that would not traditionally locate to the District. Additionally, Mr. Bobb expressed concern for the number of jobs created for District residents and methods of increasing the employment rate for residents.

Deputy Mayor Stanley Jackson spoke to developing “human capital” in the neighborhoods of the District. He explained that by growing the city’s downtown, more people are drawn to the District to live and to work. Mr. Jackson added, “The District can’t rest on its accomplishments,” and that the city will continue its economic growth towards the neighborhoods. He also looked to improving the quality of life for District residents through affordable housing and homeownership initiatives.

BIB’s are held four to five times each year as educational seminars for the business community. To learn more about the Washington, DC Marketing Center’s Business Initiatives Breakfast, visit the events page.

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