Mapped: DC's Construction Boom

February 15, 2016 // as featured in Washington City Paper

D.C. is undergoing a construction boom this decade which is dramatically altering the city landscape. To keep up with a growing population and increasing demand for urban living, vacant lots are being built up and apartment buildings are rising up to the height restriction around the city.

More than 1,500 permits for new residential buildings since 2012

Residential new building permits issued, January 2012-January 2016 (cumulative)

Source: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Building Permits, via

Since 2012, the D.C. residential construction explosion has touched most of the city, with the exception of historically preserved neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown. Clusters of new residential buildings appear in the Northwest and Southeast corners of the District, along with Brookland, Edgewood, and the corridors of Shaw, Logan Circle, and H Street NE.

New Single Family Homes Largely on City Perimeter

Residential building permits issued by building type, January 2012-January 2016

Source: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Building Permits, via

More than 1,000 of the new buildings are single-family homes. These are largely concentrated around the perimeter of the District while more of the inner-city development is multi-family. New buildings in Southwest are almost exclusively apartments, helping to put neighborhoods like Navy Yard on track to be the most densely populated in the city. The H Street NE corridor and lower Northwest neighborhoods are a mix of duplexes and larger apartment buildings.

The data here shows permits issued, which precede construction completion by months or even years for larger projects, since 2012. With more than 30 permits for new residential buildings already issued in 2016, the District landscape will continue to change for some time.

Technical notes: Graphics are based on new residential building construction from D.C. building permit data. You can find complete code for this post on my github page.