Speculative New Use of Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. and “This Could Be…” Thinking

One of the key catalysts for real resourceful change in cities is when someone looks at an existing asset with a “This Could Be…” mindset. Sometime ago I came across a brief thread on Twitter by Braulio Agnese that deserves to be highlighted in the context of Reprogramming the City and reimagining the potential of existing urban assets.

Sharing a link to an article on Bisnow, Can Indoor Farming Fulfill The Dream Of Opportunity Zones?, Agnese offered his observation on an opportunity to bring indoor farming to Washington D.C.:

“A great spot in DC for this would be the old trolley tunnels beneath Dupont Circle. There’s a ton of space available that will be difficult/expensive to make useful — if by “useful” you mean a place for ppl. But as commercial/industrial-use space, it could be a good fit.”

Braulio Agnese

“There’s almost 30K [square feet] of roughly 14′ high space here (the tunnels are about 15′ across),” he explained in a followup Tweet.

It’s a microscopic moment in the vast realm of Twitter, but a resourceful, resilient, urban future depends on this sort of thinking, and the world needs more of it. Imagine the possibilities if more people took the initiative layer an idea or concept they come across on the web onto an existing, underused urban asset. 

Identifying opportunity in the urban landscape is of course the core mission of Reprogramming the City and the series of workshops I run. It thrills me to no end to see such thinking at work in daily exchanges.

There are no shortage of projects that make use of existing urban space for food production, many documented in the Reprogramming the City book and on this site. But there is a need for so many more to come to fruition. Looking at an existing space with a “This Could Be…” mindset is the first step towards real change.

A huge tip of the hat to Braulio Agnese. Sometimes there’s gold in them thar Tweets. 

For 44 of the most innovative examples of repurposing urban assets for new use from 17 countries, get your copy of the Reprogramming the City book here.