Barry Farm Community Washington, DC


Barry Farm is a neighborhood in Washington, DC with significant historic and cultural importance. It was developed in 1867 as a unique 375-acre community for formerly enslaved and freed African Americans. The new community was a close-knit group with communal areas for gardening, gathering and dancing. In 1943 the neighborhood was rebuilt and named Barry Farm Dwellings as part of the city’s public housing initiative. It retained its social cohesion, developing new traditions over the years such as the Goodman League, a popular basketball program that becomes a social hub in the summer months. In recent years there has been renewed interest in the community, and it will be reconstructed as part of the District’s multi-faceted New Communities Initiative.

A highly collaborative process, this Planned Unit Development (PUD) has been shaped by the residents, city agencies and community stakeholders. BSD has worked closely with the development team, residents and District agencies to honor the rich history and culture of the community while introducing cutting edge sustainable urban design. The process has involved intensive community engagement and research (including consultations with historians at the Anacostia Museum), and BSD enlisted the help of Penn State’s 4th-year community design studio. This unique partnership yielded a wealth of additional information and innovative ideas.  See their great work here.

The project will include new roads, retail and community amenities in addition to more than a thousand units of affordable and market-rate housing. BSD’s scope includes planning and site programming, sustainable site design, low-impact storm water strategies and landscape architecture for the entire site.

Barry Farm will also serve as a pilot project for BSD’s Design For Impact program. The BSD team selected relevant metrics from its Impact Matrix to evaluate social, economic and environmental outcomes. These metrics became design goals that will guide the development of the project, and provide a framework to quantify the efficacy of the design.

Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc.


Project Manager
Bel St. John Day

Image Credit
EDG Architects (1, 2)

Penn State Projects