UDC’s Landscaping Plan Helps “Green” The Avenue

by David Bardin

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will win big for the whole neighborhood with its Student Center landscaping at 4100 Connecticut Avenue.

UDC student center landscaping overheadOverhead view of the landscaping for the new UDC Student Center (Courtesy of UDC and Lee & Associates, Inc.)

We will enter the campus just south of Veazey Terrace NW, where a new lawn will replace concrete – entirely on UDC private space.

[quote_right]Planned “landscaping for the UDC New Student Center at 4100 Connecticut Avenue NW… will transform this part of the Van Ness Corridor.” [ANC3F Resolution of Sept. 17, 2013][/quote_right]On Connecticut Avenue we will find ample room for ten large shade trees, flowering cherries, pedestrian sidewalk, and an outdoor café on porous bricks flanked by layered beds of shrubs, grasses, and perennials filling 35 feet of public space, plus a building setback adding at least 25 of private open space.

Replacing some spindly street trees in small tree boxes, UDC will plan ten new Quercus Bicolor – Swamp White Oak – in 300 feet of enlarged, 8-foot-wide tree boxes, with structural soil enhancements and porous-brick pedestrian crossovers. Eight new Yoshino Cherry Trees in new beds will parallel the oaks.

At the corner, UDC plans ornamental trees and shrubs.

On the Van Ness Street side, UDC plans a big rain garden with ten new trees (three Plane trees and seven ornamentals) in its midst as well as layered shrubs and ground covers. UDC will also preserve street trees on that side.

UDC will remove impervious pavements both on the Connecticut side and around the corner, enhancing or outright replacing soil. UDC also plans to landscape an upper plaza and the Student Center roof (matching its other green roofs). UDC will irrigate beds and lawn with captured rainwater. UDC has selected native and adaptive species with seasonal interest.

DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) has inspected the site, reviewed plans, and signed off on all public space portions. It picked Swamp White Oak for the ten new Connecticut Avenue street trees and worked with UDC to preserve the mature Willow Oaks on Van Ness Street NW. (UFA does not regulate private space portions.)

On November 19th, the University will present its landscaping plans to ANC 3F.


  1. Mary Beth Ray says

    Bravo UDC for leading the way to a greener Van Ness! Thanks David for taking the time to highlight this exciting development.

  2. Tom Lalley says

    This is such a positive development. I just bought the house I grew up in on Yuma St. Through my childhood, UDC wasn’t much better than the abandoned bureau of standards complex it replaced, both like a scene from a dystopian novel, perfect for roaming bored adolescents but toxic for the community.

    These days I’m again roaming the neighborhood but this time with my infant daughter. We tend to stay away from UDC because it’s absolutely dead, as are the adjacent embassies. Metro stations are natural gathering places and, while the embassies are a lost cause, UDC has the potential for being a true neighborhood asset.

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