I couldn’t let the bias in your article about Southwest (“Tomorrowland,” 7/10) pass without comment. Your author writes, “So what if people moved here to avoid the city? I want all of Southwest to have kids again.” Most people moved into Southwest because they like being in the city, near the Mall, the Metro, and all the other things the city has to offer. Southwest did have lots of kids when I first moved in 17 years ago. But as the school system deteriorated, the number of middle-class children plummeted, because their parents moved out to ensure a decent education in a safe school system. Solve the school problem and families with children will return.
Your author quotes one disgruntled resident as saying, “It’s not in the nature of the people…[who live here] to use public spaces….They aren’t walkers.” Many of the people who live here walk to work, walk to the fish market, walk to the museums. One of the delights of life in Southwest is the easy proximity on foot to most things. I strongly disagree that Le Eckles is the voice “trying to inject a note of reality” into the planning for this area. Her reality is not mine, nor is it in any way representative of the people I know who live here.
Your author also fails to acknowledge perhaps the most significant achievement of the original urban plan: While integration between economic classes may not have been occurred, the nonpublic housing is probably more integrated than housing anywhere else in Washington. That is a major accomplishment in my book. If you look at the various condos and co-ops (River Park, Capitol Park II, Carrollsburg, etc.) you will find that cultural diversity and social harmony have flourished. Southwest faces many of the problems that the rest of D.C. faces, an aging urban plan, poverty, poor schools but its strength lies in the residents and their sense of place and pride in this neighborhood.
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