Reginald Booker and Sammie Abbott are second only to Pierre L’Enfant in their influence on Washington D.C.’s urban development, and they were neither architects nor civil engineers. I would happily watch an HBO/Apple TV+ miniseries about their fight with the congressmen who wanted to pave over the capital with miles and miles of highway. I mean, just look at them:
The Man they were fighting against was Rep. William Houston Natcher (D), chair of an Appropriations subcommittee which wanted to flood the District with money in a cash for concrete program. And again, a picture here is worth more than a thousand words:
Thanks to Booker and Abbott’s good work, DC now has a semi-functional metro under an agglomeration of vibrant, interconnected, walkable neighborhoods, instead of a completely dysfunctional and congested freeway system criss-crossing a checkerboard of destroyed city blocks, à la Baltimore. The Washington Post wrote about the pair a couple of decades ago, and the story is engrossing as ever. Someone, anyone, please forward it to David Simon.