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Planning Department Will Host Placemaking Events in Silver Spring During August and September 2017

August 7, 2017

Community invited to attend free yoga classes and discos in parks and public spaces

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is kicking off a series of placemaking events in downtown Silver Spring this August and September. The “pop-up” events, including outdoor yoga and silent discos, are free and open to the public.

This series is being held in partnership with County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Tom Hucker, and the Silver Spring Regional Services Center to implement some of the ideas generated during the fall 2014 Silver Spring Placemaking Workshops. The goal of these events is to activate existing underutilized and hidden public spaces in downtown Silver Spring, and encourage community interaction.

Free outdoor yoga events, titled “Downward Dog Days of Summer,” are scheduled for August and September at varying locations in downtown Silver Spring.  They will be offered by Khepera Wellness and yoga mats and water will be supplied for participants. These sessions will help to activate the downtown area while encouraging health and wellness.

  • September 19, starting at 12 p.m. – Silver Spring Library
  • September 26, starting at 12 p.m. – Silver Spring Library

Outdoor silent discos are planned for September, with more details forthcoming. A silent disco is an event where people dance to music while wearing wireless headphones. Rather than being broadcast through a speaker system, music is transmitted through signals picked up by the headphone receivers.

Learn more about the 2017 Planning Department Placemaking Series.

Implementing workshop concepts

As part of the January 15, 2015 presentation to the Planning Board, the Silver Spring Placemaking team recommended specific improvements to the Silver Spring Transit Center civic space, Ripley District and Metro Plaza in downtown Silver Spring. These action items range from enhanced crosswalks, clearer signage and new bike lanes to outdoor movies, public art, food trucks and other activities. For each recommendation, the team suggested a “champion” was needed, including public agencies and corporate sponsors, to implement the changes.

“One of the reasons we held the workshops was to enhance the Silver Spring Master Plan so we have a head start when that master planning effort comes back around for updating,” says Robert Kronenberg, the Planning Department’s Chief of Area 1, who helped organize the events. “The Silver Spring Placemaking Workshops are the first of many we will be doing in the county. They set the stage of what is to come.”

What is placemaking?
Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place.

Background on the Silver Spring Placemaking Initiative

In partnership with the office of County Councilmember Hans Riemer, Silver Spring Urban District, Silver Spring Regional Center and the local community, the Montgomery Parks and Planning Departments hosted a series of design workshops in fall 2014 that focused on placemaking strategies for Downtown Silver Spring.

The workshops explored creative ways to improve civic spaces at three locations – the Transit Center, Ripley District and Metro Plaza – as well as long-term strategies for implementing these upgrades. Public participation in all three workshops helped to generate dynamic and innovative ideas for providing temporary and permanent uses for community spaces that engage a broad spectrum of people.

The goal of the three Silver Spring Placemaking Workshops was to build on the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan by engaging the community to develop strategies for improving prominent civic spaces within Downtown Silver Spring.

The resulting Silver Spring Placemaking Workbook included recommendations based on these workshops and ideas to improve the Transit Center, Ripley District and Metro Plaza areas of Silver Spring.

“The whole process was fantastic and we had such a positive reaction from the community,” said Riemer. “Now we want to make sure the workshops contribute to meaningful change in Downtown Silver Spring.”

Councilmember Tom Hucker, whose Council district includes Silver Spring, said “I was very excited to participate in the Placemaking series. We identified some great ideas to enhance Silver Spring and I look forward to seeing them realized.”

Learn more about the Silver Spring Placemaking project.