America’s Changing Capital

Natalie Hopkinson has a good piece in today’s Times Sunday Review about the demographic changes that are underway in Washington, DC. I like the honesty with which Hopkinson depicts the anger and resentment, and also the hopefulness, that go hand in hand with quick neighborhood change. It’s depressing how often the coverage of these issues will try to sanitize the messy reality and recriminations that so obviously characterize changing groups’ claims to valuable urban territory. (These can be especially ugly when the claims are being made in the zero-sum game of politically-regulated urban land use.) Hopkinson doesn’t do that, nor does she patronize the parties to the dynamic by attempting to treat their grievances as being petty. But– and I think this is what makes her piece more meaningful than most lamentations of change– she also captures the significance of the sort of organic cultural integration that is happening, as well. I wonder if it can last, or if it is just a fleeting moment.

Meanwhile, Matt Stiles, an NPR data journalist who writes at The Daily Viz, has some new maps of the changing capital:

Stiles created several new maps of Washington, DC, based on the 2010 Census.