The blog of the Urban Institute
December 10, 2013

Use our tools to tell your own stories about a decade of change in DC

December 10, 2013


You see it in the scaffolding and “Now Leasing” signs and brand new restaurants, the infill housing, bike-share stations, and rising property values. Washington, DC, is changing—rapidly—so rapidly that it can be hard to put it all into words.

So maybe images can help.

Today, the Urban Institute presents Our Changing City, a project we hope will help quantify and personalize DC’s development. In this multi-part, online, interactive series, we use words, data, and visualizations to describe this change and help residents see where they fall within it.

Chapter one focuses on shifting demographics, from the District’s founding in the late 18th century to the riots in the sixties up until 2010, with a special focus on the decade between the last two census counts when DC’s population grew for the first time in 50 years. Subsequent chapters will cover housing, education, crime, and more.

Detailed maps illustrate what happened. Scan back and forth between 2000 and 2010 and you’ll see entire blocks populated seemingly in an instant, young adults speckling Northwest, and a marked decline in the number of African American residents.

Each dot represents a person. Which one are you? If you now live or once lived here, what’s the perspective from your place on the map? Use our tools to tell your story about our changing city.


As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues. Experts are independent and empowered to share their evidence-based views and recommendations shaped by research.