Image by Peter Dovak.

Over the past two weeks, we've pitted 16 zoning districts from across the District of Columbia in a head-to-head tournament, in a mad quest to determine which of them is our readers' favorite. Today, at long last, we have a winner — not just of our readers' hearts and minds, but of the fabled Game of Zones.

The DC Office of Zoning and its Zoning Guidebook provided helpful background information about how zoning shapes neighborhoods, what each of DC's 101 zoning districts allows, and fantastic maps that make it easy to find out where is zoned what.

The hotly contested final round of Game of Zones faced off the quadrant finalists from Northwest and Northeast. (You can review our first-round posts to see who was eliminated in the Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, or Southeast quadrants.) Almost 100 of you voted before the deadline of noon on Tuesday, and selected…


Image by District of Columbia Office of Zoning used with permission.

GGWash readers and contributors love the arts, not only on blank walls, in abandoned tunnels, in operating tunnels, in our events, in the river, all over town, all night, and yes, in our zoning codes. It's only natural that they'd also love the four “Mixed Use Uptown ARTS” zones that bracket the ever-popular 14th and U Street corridors, from 14th and P to 7th and U.

These zoning districts have shaped an area that has seen rapid change in recent years, adding thousands of new residents and hundreds of new businesses. The ARTS zoning allows mixed uses and heights ranging from four floors on some blocks to nine floors on others.

14th and U Streets in November 2013. Image by Ted Eytan licensed under Creative Commons.

More unusually, the ARTS zoning also includes use limitations and design standards intended to encourage small retail and arts uses like galleries and theaters. It does this with carrots and sticks, with density bonuses for theaters and frontage limitations for restaurants and bars.

What did you think about Game of Zones, and our ultimate champion? Let us know in the comments.

Payton Chung, LEED AP ND, CNUa, sees the promises and perils of planning every day as a resident of the Southwest Urban Renewal Area. He first addressed a city council about smart growth in 1996, accidentally authored Chicago’s inclusionary housing law, and blogs at west north.