RFK in 1988

Matthew Yglesias wants more city where RFK Stadium currently stands:

It’s striking to me how unpopular what I think the obvious and roughly correct solution is. The structure should be demolished and the empty land plus the open air parking lots should be sold to builders to build . . . whatever. An urban neighborhood with houses and some stores. You’re talking about a big parcel of land that’s right by a Metro station offering a convenient 10 minute commute to the House-side of the Capitol. If you build some houses, people will live there and if people live there they’ll want to shop in some stores and eat in some restaurants. Trying to lure a football team to the location to play eight times a year is insane, but in general “what to do with a bunch of transit accessible land in the middle of a city?” isn’t such a complicated question. Just build more city.

But it’s not totally fair to say that the Yglesian solution is unpopular. After all, that’s what the federal government’s local planning agency, the National Capital Planning Commission, proposed for the 190 acres that RFK Stadium sits on back in 2006:

It should include a large waterfront park, with recreational fields and open space, augmented by commemorative works and connected to the surrounding neighborhoods by pedestrian and bicycle paths.

The interior of the site should include new residential and retail development. The retail element should include restaurants and cafés as well as service-oriented businesses such as dry cleaners and bookshops. A proposed new commemorative attraction, such as a museum, across from the D.C. Armory building, which is adjacent to the stadium, would attract a steady flow of visitors to the area.

This is definitely “more city” than currently exists there. Unless you think a skate park a city makes.

Photo by Ken Hammond via Wikimedia Commons license