Not with the Historic Districting of Columbia

I have faith that the Invisible Hand will ball up into a fist and smite the creators of the ugly.
Yes, I saw the Washington Post article about ugly tops. Pop up roofs are ugly in suburbia when they plopped on top of bungelows, and they are ugly in the city. It’s just ugly all around.
However, I don’t believe, that the hammer of historic districting is the solution. Maybe the screwdriver of zoning, is a better tool. And then there is the chisle of legistlation to allow just banning, if not regulating, the use of the hated vinyl siding, like single beers and go cups?
Really, what inch of the District isn’t historic? Okay, maybe bits of Ward 8 which were developed in the middle of the 20th century, but what isn’t over 50 years old with some sort of from the bottom up people’s history?
Instead, I believe the truly ugly will come at a price to the developer and the seller. For one tack off points for curb appeal. Yes, they get to say that they’ve added a bedroom, more space, what have you, but then they are also competing with other say 3 bedroom, 2,000 sq ft houses that were designed to be those kinds of houses. Secondly, even when the market was hot, I’ve seen ugly houses just sit. But that’s only in my area, maybe ugly sells like hotcakes in Columbia Heights. There are also other things that developers, or others getting a house ready to sell do that are useless, like large decks off bedrooms.
Also, I believe what has been done can, with the will and money, can be undone. True window sizes can be restored, proper turrets returned (unless there is something in the DC building code against them), bricks replaced, siding removed, and better design implemented. We renovate kitchens, transform yards, add things, remove things over the years, as occupants change things. You truly lose something when the thing is completly demolished.
So lets start the petition to ban vinyl siding and regulate extra floor additions to pre-exisiting housing since the goal isn’t to preserve some vague history but rather to prevent that which is an abomination in your eyes.

Sample of Shaw, 1880-1920

G-d Bless doctoral dissertations, gives people something to do, something to write and sometimes, it is of interest to people outside of academia.
The dissertation that may be of interest to y’all is “Changing Race, Changing Place: Racial, occupational, and residential patterns in Shaw, Washington, DC, 1880-1920” by Karl John Byrand, Doctor of Philosophy, Univ of Maryland, Department of Geography. Byrand does what I’m planning/ trying to do, but on a smaller scale. I didn’t photocopy all the pages (’cause that would violate copyright and I didn’t have enough cash to copy all I needed anyway), but he looks at the 1300 block of T, 1200 blk of 13th and the 900 blk of R, and if he looked at other blocks I don’t know. What I do know is that it was a small sample and he was mainly interested in alleys, and alley dwellers.
The abstract of this reads as such:

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, increasing black migration from the South changed the social structure of border cities such as Washington, DC. Prior to 1880, many of the District’s black residents were confined to mini-ghettos within alleys; however, around the turn of the century, specific sections of the city underwent the process of racial concentration, forming large, predominantly black enclaves. Shaw, a neighborhood in northwest Washington, DC, was one of these areas.

The summary of this paper, just in case you never make it over to Hornbake Library, where this sits is:

The study area’s overall population had grown by 18.5 percent since 1910, as compared to the 32.2 percent increase by 24 percent, as compared to the District’s 16 percent growth between 1910 and 1920….. The data show increasing residential clustering based on skin tone, and perhaps ethnicity, over the previous periods with whites clustering together even more than previously, with more packing onto fewer blocks, perhaps in reaction to the other blocks becoming black/ mulatto dominated. Moreover, the rate of address sharing by white household heads had progressively increased from 12.7 percent in 1880 to 41.2 percent; now, a greater proportion of whites shared single residences than did blacks or mulattoes…. By 1920, Shaw had become the black business, entertainment, and residential community in Washington, DC. It would remain a lively center for black activity until after the Second World War, when many of Shaw’s middle-class black residents would seek housing further from the city’s core. After that, businesses and other services in the neighborhood would decline.