“Increased pressure to find land for museums and memorials on the cramped National Mall could spur new ideas about the future development of the nation’s capital.

New additions approved for Washington’s monumental core in recent years – from the World War II Memorial in 2000 to the future Smithsonian black history museum and a visitor’s center planned for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – have drawn heated debate.

A symposium Wednesday at the National Building Museum will explore ways to rethink monuments to history and where they should go. Scholars, designers and architects from across the country will join city planners who are creating a plan to help broaden the image of Washington beyond the National Mall.

City planners, though, want to think beyond the mall. Their plans call for recentering the city around the U.S. Capitol and the grand boulevards that lead up to it with more pedestrian-friendly passages, shops and housing mixed with memorials or museums. They’re also looking at new spaces along a new waterfront and ballpark district, which will be the future home of the Washington Nationals. “

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