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Derelict buildings stand behind a chain-link fence draped with a yellow-and-green banner. The banner reads “Retail & Central Park” and includes a photo of a woman and girl.
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A development banner hangs outside Barry Farm Dwellings slated for demolition. Joseph Young Photograph Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Joseph Young

Redevelopment and Gentrification


Today, Barry Farm–Hillsdale residents are once again facing change and uncertainty about the future. Barry Farm Dwellings has been demolished to make way for a mixed-use, mixed-income development. Redevelopment and gentrification are changing the character of the neighborhood. Longtime residents are uncertain whether they will be allowed to return to the community, and if so, what they will return to. 

Explore the map to investigate.

Demolition of Barry Farm Dwellings

Starting in 2014, the DC government slated Barry Farm–Hillsdale for redevelopment. Plans included demolishing Barry Farm Dwellings and replacing it with a mixed-use, mixed-income development. The Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association and local nonprofit Empower DC appealed the redevelopment plans and applied for a historic preservation designation to preserve part of Barry Farm Dwellings.

Compare before and after images.

Left: Barry Farm Dwellings before demolition
Right: Barry Farm Dwellings after demolition The slider below allows user to reveal the image on the left or right.

Hear from a community member who was affected.
“[Leaving Barry Farm Dwellings] was a bittersweet feeling. Mostly because the community that I had there was really close. So it was pretty sad to leave . . . It’s a community. Children have grown up there, generations have grown up there, but do you really want to continue that type of oppression and depression inside of Barry Farms for generations? Yes, bring the change to the neighborhood, but bring it for those people. Don’t push those people out and bring it for someone else.”

—Former Barry Farm Dwellings resident Dasani Watkins

NPR, September 19, 2018

What changes do you notice?
How do you think these changes impacted the community?

Most Barry Farm Dwellings residents have been relocated to other neighborhoods. It is unclear how many residents will be able to return and what they will return to. The majority of the Barry Farm Dwellings have been demolished. But the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association and local nonprofit Empower DC succeeded in preserving a small section of the housing complex as a historic landmark. This historic designation will help ensure that part of the community’s history will be preserved for future generations.

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