Author: Muriel Bowser : Publisher:  DOEE  Date 4/24/2019


Five years ago, the District Government released a plan to make the District of Columbia the most sustainable city in the country. At the time, the Sustainable DC plan was one of the most innovative, ambitious sustainability plans in the country. While the District remains at the forefront of innovation in sustainability, a lot has changed in the past five years.

We have seen major economic, political, and social change in the District and across the country, and we need a sustainability plan that reflects the reality of 2018. We need a plan that takes advantage of new opportunities and addresses new challenges that have arisen—a plan that meets the needs of our changing city and the 700,000+ residents who call the District home.

That is why I directed my team to update the Sustainable DC plan into a strategy for 2018 of which we can all be proud. I call it Sustainable DC 2.0. Sustainability planning can not happen in a vacuum. Sustainable DC 2.0 focuses on making the District the healthiest, greenest, most livable city for all District residents, but there are many forces at play in the city in which that work is happening.

The population of Washington, DC—both in how many people and who lives in the District—is rapidly changing. The population of the District is projected to reach almost 900,000 by 2032, the final year of this plan’s scope.

  • The demographics of Washington are also changing. Known for decades as “Chocolate City,” DC is now just 47 percent black.
  • At the same time, the District’s white, Latino and Asian populations are growing with 37 percent of the city identifying as white
  • 11 percent Latino
  • 4.3 percent Asian. Increased diversity brings new opportunities and benefits, but also brings new challenges for many residents.

While Washington, DC is one of the best educated cities in America and enjoys a relatively high median household income of almost $73,000 (compared to the national average of $55,000), prosperity is not enjoyed by all residents.

In 2017, the median household income in Ward 8 was $32,000 while in Ward 3 it was $110,000.  Almost 17 percent of District residents live under the poverty rate. Ninety-four percent of white residents hold a bachelor degree or higher education  while only 36 percent of black residents do.

While the District Government has made affordable housing a top priority, the pressure of rising housing costs is felt by many residents: more than 40 percent of District residents spend over a third of their monthly income on housing costs.

Sustainable DC 2.0 is the final product of a 20-month intensive community engagement process
involving thousands of residents. Not every action will work as anticipated and inevitably,
we will need to adjust our strategies as Washington, DC continues to change.

If you have any suggestion for how to implement one of the actions, your advice would be appreciated.
Making the District of Columbia the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the country
will require the ideas and energy of our entire community. I invite you to get involved at        

The Sustainable DC 2.0 plan is broad. It contains 167 actions and 36 goals across 13 separate topics. This document has been designed to be read either cover-to-cover if you are feeling ambitious or as individual sections if you are interested in a specific topic.

If you would simply like a summary of what each topic covers, a time frame for implementation, and which District Government agencies are responsible for implementation, you can turn to the chart at the very end of this document.

If you come across acronyms or a term you are not familiar with, you can flip to the list of acronyms or glossary in the back for a definition. Also, note that while the plan is largely written in the future tense, much of the work is already underway.


Each of the 13 topics is organized into distinct goals, targets, and actions. Here’s what they mean: GOALS are big picture, overarching ambitions. ACTIONS explain how the District will reach each of the targets. Each goal usually has four or five targets. TARGETS are the quantifiable method of tracking progress towards the goal. Each goal has one target. ACTION INFORMATION