Image by Trish Newberg used with permission.

I've been interested in cities and infrastructure since I was a little kid growing up in the District. Since its inception, Greater Greater Washington has been an online home for me to connect with others that share my love for this region and its possibilities as well as a place to discuss thoughtful and reasoned approaches to its problems. I believe this region is great, and can be greater. Do you?

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I grew up in the District, and I graduated from DC public schools. The DC I grew up in was very much in the mold of John F. Kennedy's famous quote: “a town of Northern charm and Southern efficiency.”

I was a lucky child of privilege in that I had the opportunity to travel outside of DC in my youth, but even in other countries it seemed that people had only heard ugly headlines about my hometown: Murder Capital and Crackhead Mayor. These themes of violence, poverty, and colonialism were constantly reinforced at home through the grinding years of the Control Board and the eroding pavement on the street outside our house. Even as late as the mid-2000s, I watched my old high school “fail” under No Child Left Behind and my favorite teachers, who gave decades of service to the city's youth during troubled times, become grist for the mill of “reform.”

It's always seemed totally logical to me that most of the people I know feel that one person can't make a difference, and that the system is rigged.

There were many milestones along the road to me getting woke. An important one was the day, sometime in the mists of 2007(!), I discovered online that I was not the only person crazy enough to love this place, with all its problems, and to believe that we could change it. There was someone who thought that the Washington, DC region was great — and could be greater.

I was in graduate school getting my Ph.D. in city planning at the time, so I wasn't even home in DC. But Greater Greater Washington became a lifeline for me, a way to stay in touch with the latest ANC antics and Metro havoc, written with an unabashedly pro-urban, pro-facts lens that spoke to the scholar, the activist, and the Washingtonian in me. Later, it was a place for smart conversation and wonky advocacy about contributory negligence after a driver hit me while I was riding my bicycle. Last year, when GGWash turned out to meet my new hometown in Prince George's County, my worlds collided in the best possible way.

I was a loyal reader for years before I became a contributor to and then a financial supporter of the space created and voices elevated by this blog. GGWash has evolved and expanded considerably in that decade, and now it needs your support as well to keep going.

Do you love this place? Make it your place, and get in formation by making a donation today.

Tagged: about ggwash

Tracy Hadden Loh loves cities, infrastructure, and long walks on the beach looking for shark teeth. She holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill. By day, she is a data scientist at the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University. By night, she is an activist, a law enforcement spouse, and the mother of a toddler. She served two years representing Ward 1 on the Mount Rainier City Council in Prince George's County, MD.