Melanie Stern, MUP 2018

Summer 2017

Organization: National Capital Planning Commission, Washington, DC

Sponsor: Boston Community Service Fellowship



One of the most inspiring parts of the week was the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with China’s Hebei Research and Liaison Delegation.







“One of my main projects is to assist with updating the Parks and Open Space Element of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, last revised in 2004. The Element provides planning guidelines and policies to ensure the protection, appropriate usage, and enhancement of the region’s parks, open spaces, and natural features.

This week I have been working on developing the introduction to the Element. I have researched the particular parkland holdings of various agencies within the region, as well as the historic frameworks such as the L’Enfant and McMillan plans that established and continue to guide the development of the region’s parks and open space. It is eye opening to review how the D.C. region compares both nationally and internationally in its park and open space systems. As a native Washingtonian, I grew up visiting the National Mall, Rock Creek Park, and many of the area’s cherished parkland and open spaces.  I am excited to contribute to developing the framework that informs their continued presence and significance.

D.C. has more parkland as a percentage of total land area than any other high-density U.S. city
Source: The Trust for Public Land











The Hebei Research and Liaison Delegation is assisting China with the development of a new economic zone 60 miles southwest of central Beijing, within the Hebei Province. The New Area, entitled Xiongan, will relocate non-capital functions from Beijing to reduce transportation, environmental and housing pressures within the overpopulated capital city. Xiongan is projected to be three times the size of New York City.

Since the development of Xiongan calls for coordinated regional development, the Hebei delegation was interested in understanding the the District’s connection and coordination with surrounding regions in Virginia and Maryland. The meeting, led by NCPC Policy and Research Division Director, Michael Sherman, discussed the role NCPC plays in the planning of the National Capital Region as well as ways in which capital cities can learn from each other to evolve and develop sustainably.”