National Capital Planning Commission


Extending the Legacy


Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century departs from previous federal plans that concentrated facilities and investment around the National Mall.

Legacy instead shifts the perceived center of the city to the Capitol and directs federal development outward into all quadrants of the city.

By channeling new museums, memorials, and office buildings outward, along the ceremonial corridors radiating from the Capitol, Legacy

  • Eases congestion in the monumental core
  • Helps revitalize neighborhoods
  • Expands the reach of public transit
  • Eliminates obsolete freeways, bridges, and railroad tracks that fragment the city
  • Reclaims Washington's historic waterfront for public enjoyment
  • Adds parks, plazas, and other amenities

Legacy builds upon the capital city’s most important historic plans—the 1791 L’Enfant Plan and the 1901 McMillan Plan.   



The combined resources of the federal government, local authorities, and the private sector have facilitated the implementation of several Legacy proposals since the plan's 1997 rollout:

The Circulator bus system provides direct links between important cultural, entertainment, and business destinations in the District. Circulator improves mobility within the city’s central core and reduces traffic congestion.

The revitalization of South Capitol Street is realizing the potential of this central city neighborhood. The Washington Nationals baseball stadium and The Yards (the former Southeast Federal Center) are spurring development of office buildings, housing, and attractive public spaces.

Current efforts are transforming the riverfront with recreation trails, parks, and commercial activity that will help revitalize adjacent neighborhoods and restore the health of the river.

Follow-Up Plans and Studies

Memorials and Museums Master Plan (2001)--Identifies suitable off-the-Mall sites for museums and commemorative works.

Monumental Core Framework Plan (2009)--Shows how memorials and museums can anchor lively, mixed-use destinations and forge a seamless connection between federal and local aspects of the city.

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