D.C.

Trust for the National Mall holds design competition

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The National Mall is beloved by millions. But some say it's been loved too much. At a special panel hosted by the National Capital Planning Commission, urban planner and designers from across the country offered their opinions about the future of open space and public parks, with the National Mall chief among them. "America is a very complex place with lots of different people and lots of different interests that would like to see themselves present on the mall," said urban planner Theaster Gates. Gates, a Chicago-based artists and cultural developer, thinks the Mall should be a living, evolving park, a national gathering space, featuring temporary monuments, museums festivals and demonstrations. The National Park Service is currently restoring some of the grass here on the National Mall, but D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says even more funding should be set aside by Congress for a 21st Century makeover. She says this is the Federal governments most neglected, underutilized property. The Trust for the National Mall is currently holding a design competition looking for ways to reinvent the space. The winning design will be announced in May. "It needs to meet the needs of the 25 million visitors who come every single year but in an enduring and important way, so it honors the history of the country, history of the space, but also takes us into the future and the next generation," said Caroline Cunningham, with the Trust for the National Mall.

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