Why can’t DC make it easier?

I’ll admit that I am not always checking all the links on the side bar on a regular basis, but recently I took a look at Live Baltimore and I must say Charm City has it’s arms wide open. Baltimore wants you to buy and if you can’t buy it wants you to rent. It makes an argument that it is a good choice for DC refugees by looking at house prices and the MARC commute. Some parts of the website are weak, like the rentals, and it makes a stronger push for home ownership. It is very informative, with the maps and the neighborhood info and history, and incentive programs (with info about qualifying). There is this curious program attached called the City Living Ambassadors, a volunteer program where people from the communities prospective buyers or renters are interested in Baltimore. A quick look at their volunteer board seems that duties include manning tables at fairs, maintaining the website, and prepping mailers. It seems someone is not afraid of volunteers and a thousand flowers blooming.
And what do we have? There was City Living, DC Style, which is dead and gone. Guess there was no need to promote the city. Instead of the open arms of Charm City, seekers will get the DC once-over look, just before the city turns to find someone more important or more interesting to talk to. Washington.Org is more for tourists and the DC.Gov site, well not so good if you need hand holding or explanations, as it may just dump you into onto an agency’s site and really, let the disappointment start early. No where in there did I see a chance for volunteering Washingtonians to promote the city or a neighborhood.
A fantasy Live Washington! or a City Living DC Style, brought back to life would be something that has an easy format. It would tell shiny young interns how to find a group house (and what to expect for the interviews) and suggest what to do after making photocopies all day. It would help the family from Madison, WI relocate and what neighborhoods have yards and their various school options (public, charter, & private). It would help families moving up from Section 8 to homeownership find the few “affordable” set asides that the new condo have. It would have comprehensive maps for crime, schools, places of worship (and their websites), full grocery stores (and their websites), dog parks, etc. Maybe throw in a resident’s short essay of what they like about their neighborhood. There would be neighborhood descriptions with a little history, housing styles, major roads, Metro options, and points of interest (if any). The information is out there and an enterprising person might piece it together from DC.Gov, a few non-profits, and other sources. But why can’t it be easier?

5 thoughts on “Why can’t DC make it easier?”

  1. You took the thought right out of my head! Since moving here a few years ago, I’ve had to search from one site to the next to find out information about actually living in Washington, DC, as opposed to visiting the city. I made a bad choice moving off of Benning Road (west of the river), right smack dab in the middle of a voilent crime focus area, which I didn’t learn about until after moving in.

    The armored car driver was shot in the chest and they took his money. A man was shot four times at the bus stop I catch to get around. Another person killed in the apts next to my laundrymat. The armed robberies on Benning and 19th and Benning and 17th (bus stop corners) are disturbing. But I thought I was just moving down the street from Capitol Hill so it can’t be THAT bad! All of that in six months!?

    Please, someone in DC, put up a site with everything you need to know before moving into the city before you become a statistic!

  2. Mari, this is a great idea! If I had the money, time, and resources, I’d love to do something like this. Maybe one of your readers can … or suggest it to someone who can?

  3. This looks like a job for a non-profit, like the Live Baltimore! project. Have 100s of volunteers, a couple of paid staff to co-ordinate events and write on living in the city and so forth and one person to deal with complaints that some parts of the city gets better PR than others. Face it a Live DC! would have a NW bias. Not being familiar with Baltimore I can’t really judge where the bias is on the Live Baltimore! site. There are well over a 100 neighborhoods and not all of them have information links. Why? I can only guess, maybe some are too small, not residential enough, or have been featured on The Wire.

  4. I am friends with the producer of http://www.dccompass.com an all video website that looks to cover life in the DC metropolitan area.
    They have not fully launched, but have been posting video that shows the neibhorhoods and events in the community.

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