In 1969, the first year of the Hamilton Program in Washington, the capital was still a city "of Northern charm and Southern efficiency" as President John Kennedy described it some years earlier.
As the program has matured, so has the capital, which is now a global center of culture, the arts, recreation and cosmopolitan diversity, as well as political power.
L'Enfant's plan has come to fruition in beautiful, broad boulevards, lined with monuments, government agencies, museums, restaurants and manicured open spaces.
It is also a city of comfortable, shaded neighborhoods from Georgetown and Dupont Circle to Capitol Hill and the Waterfront, served by an efficient municipal government and a public transportation system that includes an extensive and even pleasant subway system.
Not only is American history palpable at every turn, but so is the future of the country and its cities.