The Living Building Challenge devotes one of the seven petals entirely to the concept of Place.  Part of the intent of the Place petal is that “The human environment must reconnect with the deep story of place and the unique characteristics of every community so that story can be honored protected and enhanced.”  The rich history of Deanwood will help create it’s own unique sustainability.

Site: Dix St &  58th St, NE, Washington, DC

  • Ward 7
  • Deanwood Neighborhood
  • Site Area : 32,319 s.f.

Download Site Dimensions – pdf


Click To Access Google Maps


Dix St & 58th, NE is on the right side of the street.

Urban Context

  • Proximity to Metro : 1/2 mile from Capitol Heights Metro Station
  • Proximity to Nearest Grocery : 1 mile
  • Neighborhood Amenities (within 1/2 mile):
    • Evans Recreational Center
    • Watts Branch Playground
    • Woodson Senior High School
  • Empowerhouse, 2011 US Solar Decathlon home

Urban Context Resources:

  1. DHCD
  2. Department of Planning:  Deanwood Strategic Development Plan

Site History

A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail” is a pamphlet for a self guided tour of the Deanwood neighborhood by Cultural Tourism DC.  It describes Deanwood as “Long a country town at the edge of Washington, DC’s urban center, Greater Deanwood rose from former slave plantations. It became one of Washington’s earliest predominantly African American communities. Follow this trail to meet the individuals who forged this oasis of self-determination and discover the handcrafted dwellings, parkland, families, and institutions they created.”

DCMR Zoning Rule 10-A1712 is part of the Comprehensive Plan that helps define Deanwood as a historic district.  It explains Deanwood’s cultural landmarks, hubs, residential architecture and character in an effort to retain and preserve its valuable history.  

“Several well known African-American architects such as W. Sidney Pittman and Howard D. Woodson, and many skilled local craftsman designed and built many of its homes.  The neighborhood was once home to Nannie Helen Burroughs an early civil rights leader.  Deanwood is also home to Suburban Gardens, a black-owned amusement park that served thousands of African-American residents during a time of racial segregation.”

This rich and treasured history will create Deanwood’s distinct sustainable built environment.

People & Culture

In 2011, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC produced a short film called “An Oral History Of Deanwood: A Self Reliant People.”  The project was funded by the District of Columbia through the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Neighborhood Investment Fund.  Many of the people who live there have spent their whole lives there.  However, there are many vacant lots which have attracted crime and blight.  Currently, there are many family lots that are creating affordable housing opportunities.     

Current Deanwood News can be found at the “All things about Deanwood” website as well as the Groundwork Anacostia website.  In 2007, Groundwork Anacostia formed when a group of neighbors committed to making improvements to their communities located east of the Anacostia River came together to organize their efforts.  They  are a progressive sub-watershed group who recognize that the Anacostia River, its tributaries and many green spaces are assets in this community and are worthy of improvement for community benefit.


Deanwood is part of the Watts Branch tributary of the Anacostia River.  This is the largest tributary to the Anacostia River in Washington, DC.   The District Department of the Environment recently completed Habitat Restoration project of the Watts Branch StreamThis is one part of a multi-agency, collaborative effort to improve water quality of the Watts Branch watershed and the Anacostia River.  “Anacostia Waterfront, Green Neighborhood, Green Watershed: Greening the Watts Branch Stream Valley” published by the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, shows the strong value placed on preserving the ecology of this community.  Much of Deanwood was still countryside until the early 20th century.  Historically large tracts of land were used by the community for farming until as recently as the middle of the 1900s.

Scale Jumping Potential

LBC version 3.0  defines Scale Jumping as an acknowledgement that the ideal scale for solutions is not always within a building’s property boundary.  For example, infrastructure or urban agriculture can be implemented on a community scale.  The Dix St & 58th site presents several opportunities for cooperative functions within the neighborhood of Deanwood and beyond.


Availability of a soils and/or geotechnical report is not anticipated and project teams are advised to adhere to best practices for structural and civil design strategies common in the region.

Building Codes and Regulations

Known conflicts exist between LBC version 3.0 and DC regulations.  Entrants that intend to propose variances to facilitate change in the current code must provide a narrative with their submission describing what elements of the DC Building Code must be altered.

DC Building Codes and Regulations include but are not limited to:

DCRA Regulations and Building Codes

DC Energy Codes

WSSC Regulations

Enterprise Green Communities


DC Zoning

  • Dix St & 58th St, NE is in Zone District C-2-A – Permits matter-of-right low density development, including office employment centers, shopping centers, medium-bulk mixed use centers, and housing to a maximum lot occupancy of 60% for residential use and 100% for all other uses, a maximum FAR of 2.5 for residential use and 1.5 FAR for other permitted uses, and a maximum height of fifty (50) feet. Rear yard requirements are fifteen (15) feet; one family detached dwellings and one family semi-detached dwellings side yard requirements are eight (8) feet.
  • Inclusionary Zoning Affordable Housing Program Maximum Rent and Purchase Price Schedule
  • Rule 10-A1712