ASLA CEO Nancy Somerville Testifies before National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC)


Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), testified on the FBI Building Square Guidelines before the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) on October 6, 2016.

“The American Society of Landscape Architects commends NCPC for the thorough and thoughtful analysis that went into development of the proposed FBI Square Guidelines. In particular, we agree with NCPC’s recommendation to restore D Street NW to the configuration in the L’Enfant Plan. However, we believe the NCPC recommendation for the build-to line along Pennsylvania Avenue significantly undervalues the existing building setback and the presence of the mature tree colonnade. 

“Visually, the 79-foot setback and the three rows of trees contribute to the overall importance and the ceremonial feel of the block and the avenue. Those same features—which emerged in the design of landscape architect Dan Kiley with architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—provide an urban oasis for pedestrians. Anyone who has walked the north, sunny side of Pennsylvania Avenue during the summer months can attest to the welcome relief provided by three rows of mature trees.

“Long-term community, civic, and environmental concerns and goals should not be set aside in favor of short-term financial and development interests. We urge the National Capital Planning Commission to maintain the existing building setback on Pennsylvania Avenue and protect the three-row tree colonnade.”

View Nancy Somerville’s full testimony at the October 6 NCPC meeting (jump to 1:21:10).

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters. Members of the Society use "ASLA" after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Landscape architects lead the stewardship, planning and design of our built and natural environments; the Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education and fellowship.


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