The District of Columbia was originally surveyed for the nation's capital
by George Washington as a ten-mile square spanning the Potomac River at
Georgetown, MD, and Alexandria VA. The land was ceded by the states of
Maryland and Virginia in the late 1790's, and became the site of the
capital in 1800. The Virginia share was "retroceded" in 1837 to become
the city of Alexandria and the county of Arlington, VA..|
The so-called "federal enclave" is but a small share of the D.C. area and is mainly maintained by the US Park Service. Eliminating roads, parks, and the federally owned (or pre-emptied) areas, D.C. is little more than 18,000 acres. D.C.is not under the jurisdiction of either Maryland or Virginia, but is essentially a "ward of the Congress" as established by Section 8, Article I of the US Constitution.
The District's population is dropping rapidly and may reach only 500,000 by YR2000 (from a high of 900,000 at the height of WWII). Demographically, it is now roughly 32% white, 61% black, and 7% "other". The majority of the people who work in D.C. no longer live there, but commute from the suburbs.
D.C. is at the center of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area (GWMSA), which is one of the most prosperous and faster growing metropolitan areas in the United States. The stark contrast between the successes of the suburbs and the failures of the central city, both virtually within sight of the nation's capital, leads to NARPAC, Inc.'s conclusion that American citizens need to focus their attention on D.C.'s problems. It is, after all, uniquely their city.
WHAT TOURISTS DON'T LEARN ABOUT DC:
A local Washington pollster and his sister have recently (March, 2000) completed a reading of Washington's 26 most prominent tourist guidebooks, searching for some of the facts that they felt were key to understanding DC the city, not just the federal institutions. In their words, half of the facts they searched for were not mentioned in even one of the guidebooks, including:
This page was updated on Apr 5, 2000
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