The redevelopment of Congress Heights

– In the Ward 8 neighborhood of Congress Heights, developer WC Smith has dominated the building and preservation of affordable housing. Here’s a look at the history of Congress Height’s changing landscape despite being one of the city’s poorest areas. (WCP, 8/20)

The neighborhood, a sought-after, mixed-race, middle-class community in the 1950s, experienced the same flight to the suburbs that plagued much of the city, but was worse east of the Anacostia River. The result was a predominantly black and poor population and an unsightly streetscape. The only major industry nearby was the St. Elizabeths mental hospital.

“When you used to drive through 20 to 25 years ago, the larger properties were half vacant, all boarded up,” says [Chris] Smith. “That’s because people were leaving wards 7 and 8 for greener pastures.”

– In the wake of the events currently unfolding in Ferguson, MO, former D.C. mayor, Sharon Pratt, reflects on the riots that followed a somewhat similar shooting in Mt. Pleasant in 1991, and how the city got to work recruiting a police force that reflected the demographics of the population. (WAMU, 8/20)

– George Mason University economist, Stephen Fuller, takes a look at how the District’s economy is faring. (WBJ, 8/21)

Opinion: There are a number of approaches to education reform, but is there too much emphasis on impersonal methods? In response to a recent New York Times op-ed, this  article looks at the importance of teacher-student relationships from a D.C. viewpoint. (GGW, 8/21)

– As former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee announces that she is stepping down as head of nonprofit advocacy group, StudentsFirst, many wonder who the next leader in education reform will be. (GGW, 8/20)

Large and Small Funders Partner to Benefit Community (Exponent Philanthropy, 8/21)

 At the 1964 World’s Fair picture phones, typewrites and underwater hotels = the future

– Ciara