Talk:Downtown (Washington, D.C.)

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Economy & Government sections[edit]

I previously removed this content because I believe it gives a false impression of downtown D.C. by mentioning only a few organizations -- hardly the most significant ones at that. Why would you mention the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration without mentioning the White House, the Treasury Dept., FBI, IRS, etc. Also, hundreds of private companies (including most major airlines and financial companies) have offices downtown. What's particularly significant about Qatar Airways, Fujitsu, and Stanford Financial Group? At the very least, can we limit this list to companies that are headquartered downtown and not include those that merely have offices there?

I appreciate User:WhisperToMe's effort here but if we go down this path we just end up with a long list of random companies and organizations which would be difficult to maintain and detract from having an informative article. —D. Monack talk 21:25, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Well, here's the first question: What are the boundaries of Downtown DC? (And who defines them?) As soon as we get a source on that, I'll post the other governmental institutions. I was relying on Yahoo Maps! for a boundary, which doesn't indicate whether the White House is in Downtown.
  • As for significance of the companies, each of them has a Wikipedia article and is judged to be notable:
  • Anyhow, I haven't found anyone else other than those three, and Downtown DC, to my knowledge, is very small. WhisperToMe (talk) 00:50, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
There are no well-defined boundaries for most DC neighborhoods and downtown is no exception. I'm not sure how you define small, but downtown DC has by far the most office space in the city. To take airlines as one example, the following companies have offices downtown: Northwest, US Airways, American Airways, Faucett Peruvian Airlines (whatever that is), Aeroflot, ANA All Nippon Airways, Air India, Japan Airlines, China Airlines, Swissair, Austrian Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air France, Delta, Olympic Airlines, Lan Chile Airlines, TWA, BWIA West Indies Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Lufthansa, TACA, in addition to Qatar Airways and probably many others[1]. I believe all of these also have Wikipedia articles.
Almost every major corporation in the U.S. has an office in downtown D.C. because they have to deal with the federal government and that is where most of Washington's office space is. We can't possibly list them all. —D. Monack talk 01:29, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
And to clarify, using the narrower boundaries as defined in the 2nd paragraph of the article, downtown includes the White House and Treasury Dept while the IRS and FBI buildings are just outside. —D. Monack talk 01:43, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
To get lists of companies I don't rely on Google maps *directories* as they may not be accurate - I usually go to the websites and see if there are any that can be sourced to that location. For instance when I looked up Aeroflot I only found a New York office. As with anything there has to be a reference for a set of boundaries used. Does DC's website have rough boundaries? Do newspaper articles define them? Is there a neighborhood association? For Downtown Houston it's easy to define as the State set up a management district that has particular boundaries. With Gulfton, Houston a researcher posted a rough boundary outline that I used in the article.
You said: "Almost every major corporation in the U.S. has an office in downtown D.C. because they have to deal with the federal government and that is where most of Washington's office space is. We can't possibly list them all." - Really? I look on many company websites and I can't find anything in DC for several of them. Many airlines, for instance, only have New York offices or Los Angeles offices. I looked up several Houston companies and they don't list any offices in DC.
What would also help is if someone posted a list of the largest employers in downtown DC or a list of major employers. I found that for several Houston business districts and for Burlingame, California. WhisperToMe (talk) 06:20, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
BTW, as an example, I found that All Nippon Airways has a Washington, DC office. But I don't know whether it would be considered to be in Downtown: http://www.ana.co.jp/eng/flights/ticketoffices/northamerica/index.html - Also Sumitomo has an area office, but again I'm not sure if it's in Downtown: http://www.sumitomocorp.com/about/locations.html WhisperToMe (talk) 07:21, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
The Google reference is sufficient for a Talk page discussion. I am not suggesting adding these offices to the article. I bring it up as an example of the large number of businesses active downtown. I can personally vouch for most of them as I have seen them in downtown D.C. I'm not sure where you looked, but Aeroflot's website does list a Washington office.
I'm not sure you're getting the gist of my argument. A longer list of companies would not necessarily be an improvement. Any list is bound to be either woefully incomplete or so long as to overwhelm the rest of the article. A fair compromise would be to limit the offices to Fortune 500 companies of which I assure you there are many or for corporate headquarters of which there aren't many. I don't have a precise figure for either of these.
You rightly point out that there is no single definition of the neighborhood's boundaries. The article delineates the neighborhood in a way that sounds reasonable to me, but that definition is unsourced. The Downtown BID lists an official map for the organization's boundaries, but this map doesn't comport with I think most Washingtonians' understanding of "downtown". —D. Monack talk 04:23, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Also a caution about using Downtown BID's map as they acknowledge it includes more that just downtown: "The Downtown BID encompasses the Penn Quarter, Gallery Place, Chinatown, McPherson Square, Federal Triangle, Midtown and Franklin Square neighborhoods." Interestingly, this statement includes a few places ("Franklin Square", "McPherson Square", "Midtown") that aren't listed under List of neighborhoods of the District of Columbia by ward. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what downtown is. That article includes this map with "Downtown" on it with boundaries that seem reasonable, but I don't know what the source is. —D. Monack talk 04:31, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Here's another useful website from the Golden Triangle BID: http://www.gtbid.com/ . The GTBID is just west of the Downtown BID and covers much of the area commonly known as downtown. Their website notes, "The BID represents 30 million square feet of commercial office space, 4,000 businesses, 600 retailers, 200 restaurants, seven hotels, and five U.S. National Parks." —D. Monack talk 04:48, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Apparently what you are saying is that attempting to list everything would not be comprehensive or would be too drawn-out. Well, what I would do is start out with a list, but when it becomes too long then start limiting it to more significant operations. I think my creating the list and seeing where it goes we can see whether the list is too out-of-proportion if completed. I think it helps to also get general information about the Downtown economy, the largest employer list, etc. as it puts meat on the bones, so to speak. See what I did at Downtown Houston#Economy
Then what I'll maybe do (after looking into the boundaries of the Downtown PID) is list the Downtown BID's boundaries and only include organizations that fall within the boundary. It'll help cut down on the size of the list. I'll say something like "Companies with offices within the BID include..." - Hopefully that limits things to what is within the BID and makes it manageable. I'll have to make sure that Maybe a separate article could be written about the Golden Triangle BID, especially if one can find enough sources about it.
It also helps having the PID boundaries as I can tell which DC Public schools serve Downtown.
BTW, look "Many companies have offices in downtown Washington." is not an acceptably encyclopedic phrase for an entire section. It's too general, too vague, and not descriptive. It's also totally unsourced. What is "many" supposed to be? If you find a figure like "The Downtown PID has blah blah businesses, main industries are blah, blah," that is what makes sections.
WhisperToMe (talk) 01:17, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this last statement. It would be better to have no Economy section than the one that merely says "Many companies... " —D. Monack talk 02:14, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Everything counts found an economic summary of Fairfax County. Do you know where one could find a page summarizing the economic activity of Downtown Washington DC? I'm looking on the BID site... WhisperToMe (talk) 03:19, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Revisions to the article[edit]

I did some big revisions to this article to get rid of the original research stuff. I'd love to get my hands on the U.S. Census' definition of "downtown" (referenced in the Washington Post article on the number of people living there), but can't find it. This would be a great addition to the article.

The "Character, attractions, and services" section needs to say something about the vast number of lobbying firms on K Street, the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, the relocation of Chinatown to this area in the 1930s, what's so special about Judiciary Square (the presence of D.C. city offices and city/federal court buildings), major memorials, and major government office buildings in the area.

I'm leery about listing restaurants in the area, just as others were leery about listing the businesses located in the area. But, the ones which I did list all have Wikipedia pages specifically mentioning their D.C. locations. If someone were to work up an article titled "List of restaurants in Downtown Washington, D.C." and provide cites (Frommer's, Underground Guide to..., etc.), I'm all for adding that as a Main Article tag to this section and dummping the few listed here.

The "Parks and public squares" section needs cites, particularly that claim about Freedom Plaza being the biggest paved square in the city. (Perhaps it's the only one!)

The "Governance" section needs to be expanded to include planning bodies (National Capital Planning Commission, Commission on Fine Arts, D.C. Zoning Board) which constrain the archiecture in the area. I can't think of other governing bodies that exist here. ANCs, perhaps? City Council members, perhaps?

Finally, someone with more knowledge about city history than I needs to do a "History" section. What was the area like prior to development, and who lived there (Indians)? When was it developed? How has the character, services, and attractions in the area changed over time? I know that's a big lift (I did it for Kingman Park, Washington, D.C. and Anacostia Historic District), but hopefully it can be done sometime. - Tim1965 (talk) 15:16, 4 September 2011 (UTC)