The Urban Waterways Project is based on research of the Anacostia River and its watershed. Its watershed covers more than 175 square miles through Maryland and the District of Columbia. It is one of the nation’s most densely populated watersheds has long been considered one of the nation’s most troubled urban rivers.  In examining issues of the Anacostia River, it becomes evident these are problems that challenge other rivers throughout the industrialized world.

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Worldwide, communities are confronting and solving issues that plague their waterways. This project explores the impact of environmental burdens polluted waterways have on urban communities throughout the world and how these burdens have, historically,disproportionately impacted poor and ethnically diverse populations. The project uncovers efforts to improve conditions along neglected watersheds through civic oversight and community engagement.  It also examines how cities are rethinking waterfront development and redefining the role rivers play as environmental ‘places’ in the urban experience.  In addition to being environmental ‘places’, the project discovers the cultural and recreational traditions associated with rivers, and how they become cultural assets for their communities. By shedding light on these topics, this project seeks to help communities rediscover and, ultimately, reclaim their urban waterways. See more at my.si.edu.

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