Montgomery County’s Think Tank

Posted by & filed under Design, Planning, Research.

The Planning Department’s Research and Special Projects Division undertakes cutting-edge studies to influence important decisions about the county Our plans rely on accurate data about demographics, housing, commercial real estate and the economy to inform recommendations and decisions about land use. This information is carefully gathered by a dedicated group within the Planning Department – the eight staff members of our Research and Special Projects Division – who help us get ahead of the planning curve with their ongoing investigations. We like to call this division “the think tank for the county” because it provides a wealth of intelligence for the County Council and various government agencies. Currently, the research staff is hard at work on several important studies of… Read more »

Missing Middle Housing: Planning’s New Cup of Tea

Posted by & filed under Planning.

More housing choices are needed to bridge affordability gaps and transition between commercial and residential areas Until I was 10 years old, I lived on a block where there were single-family homes, a house split into two apartments and a small quadruplex apartment building. It was a very close-knit neighborhood with frequent visits to the neighbors. My best friend lived – with his mom, dad and baby sister – in one of the apartments in the house and I befriended an elderly couple who lived in one of the quadruplex apartments. In fact, I still have a beautiful china tea cup that they gave me. It used to be that there were housing choices other than what we usually see… Read more »

Back to the Future: New Suburbanism

Posted by & filed under Design, Planning, Public spaces.

Reimagining suburbs in the 21st century draws on the best of the past   The communities that started the trend of 20th-century suburbanism shared a number of common traits. Many of them were focused on rail or trolley lines. Most had some retail uses in close proximity – corner stores or small retail blocks. They connected to nature through tree-lined curvilinear streets and small neighborhood parks and open spaces. Montgomery County’s earliest suburbs – Chevy Chase, Kensington and Takoma Park — all exhibit these features. As suburbs grew and the areas between the rail and trolley lines filled in with auto-centric swaths of single-family homes, some of the essential traits of the older, original suburbs were lost. Now, in the… Read more »