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A conversation with Montgomery Planning’s “equity data team” on the award-winning Equity Focus Areas analysis and story map

By Pamela Zorich, Jay Mukherjee, and Karen Blyton

Montgomery Planning is committed to eliminating racial inequities and creating equitable communities within Montgomery County. One key part of this work is the Equity Focus Areas (EFA) analysis, created by our Equity Data Team. The team recently won a 2021 Data Viz Award from the Association of Public Data Users for their story map created to illustrate their findings.

We sat down with two members of the Equity Data Team, Pamela Zorich and Jay Mukherjee, to discuss their work on this analysis, how it may help create a more equitable Montgomery County, … Continue reading

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Montgomery County Planning works to create thriving places across the county. This goal is reflected in our proposed General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050, master plans, functional plans, and other special studies.

But how do we know if a place is indeed thriving?  We often use publicly available data from agencies like the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze shifts in key indicators of an area’s economic vitality.

Now let’s zoom in on the map and ask a deeper question: do thriving neighborhoods help the people living in them to thrive? Put another way, do neighborhoods thrive because the people living in them improved their economic status, or because people of higher … Continue reading

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Seeking the community’s help to find answers

Written by Kacy Rohn, in collaboration with Montgomery History

Historic maps are key to understanding Montgomery County’s evolution. They reveal past social and economic systems, patterns of development and decline, and evolving transportation networks. Many of these maps have been closely studied for years, but they still hold mysteries about the county’s past. We are seeking input from county residents and historians to unravel a question about Martenet & Bond’s 1865 map of Montgomery County.

The map was published by Simon J. Martenet, a surveyor and civil engineer based in Baltimore who produced detailed maps of Maryland counties. In looking closely at this map to understand a historic road alignment, Historic Preservation … Continue reading

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In our most recent blog post “2021 Design Excellence – It’s Time to Celebrate!” we wrote about how excellent architectural design not only supports a great public realm, but that it also has the power to attract and inspire people in a way that can sustain our environmental, social and economic vitality well into the future. Architecture, urban, or landscape design at all scales of development has the power to make our world resilient, equitable and better. In Montgomery County, we celebrate architecture and landscape that make the mundane more interesting and creates and improves streetscapes and spaces that enhance human interaction.

Beginning June 21, the Montgomery County Planning Department opened our webpage to accept submissions for the … Continue reading

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Over the last 20 years, Silver Spring has evolved from a DC suburb with blocks of stately single-family homes on lush green lawns to a lively and energetic city in its own right. Today it is a diverse downtown with a multi-modal transit center, office buildings, high-rise residential towers, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and a burgeoning night-time economy. With this transformation, the downtown residential population has nearly doubled from just under 7,000 people in 2000 to over 12,000 people who live in the downtown Silver Spring today.

This growth, which is largely attributed to the success of public and private investment and the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, has created several opportunities, but also some challenges. … Continue reading

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Investors and technological giants are betting billions that Mobility as a Service will coax people out of vehicle ownership.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the idea that one does not need to personally own a vehicle to satisfy their mobility needs. It is a user-centric and technologically driven experience that seeks to integrate “a full range of mobility options in one digital-mobility-platform offering with public transportation as the backbone” (APTA, 2019). It moves beyond the current siloed mobility services (public transit, Uber, Lyft, Capital Bikeshare, Lime, etc.) to create a one-stop-shop for transportation services, integrating a variety of mobility options and payment methods, into a single application. To achieve this, cities such as Helsinki have passed laws … Continue reading

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The creation of complete communities (a primary tenet of our new Thrive General Plan proposal) within our urban, suburban, and rural centers can only be achieved through quality, sustainable architectural and urban design that supports a strong and vibrant public realm.  Buildings frame and activate streets and parks, and their symbiotic relationship supports community building. Through quality design we can start to protect our health, safety, and welfare in a way that addresses the challenges of increasingly extreme climate conditions and social inequity. Excellent architectural design can not only support a great public realm, but it also has the power to attract and inspire all people.  Excellent architectural, urban, or landscape design, at all scales of development, has the … Continue reading

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Written by Casey Anderson and Lisa Govoni

The basic problem with housing in Montgomery County is easy to summarize: We haven’t been building enough of it for quite some time.

We’re building less and less over time

In every succeeding decade since the 1980s, the number of residential building permits issued here has steadily declined, both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the region. Home construction has fallen well short of the 4,200 units per year that the Council of Governments (COG) estimates that the county needs to keep up, even with relatively modest population and job growth.

Here’s a chart that shows what we’re talking about:

Montgomery County Building Permits

Limited new construction creates supply … Continue reading

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Por Natali Fani-González

Este contenido apareció originalmente en la sección de opinión de The Washington Post el 4 de marzo de 2021.

En 30 minutos, un viernes por la tarde en el otoño de 2020, pude capturar la agonía de la experiencia estadounidense:

“[La vivienda] es demasiado costosa a menos que gane más de $60 mil”.

“Usted obtiene lo que paga… siempre y cuando tenga un salario estable”.

“La mitad de mi salario mensual se destina a pagar el alquiler”.

“Aproximadamente un 70 % de mi salario mensual se utiliza para pagar el alquiler”.

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Even the most forward-thinking land use policies will fail if they are not supported by transportation infrastructure and services that reinforce – or at least don’t undermine – their objectives. As the Wedges and Corridors plan recognized more than half a century ago:

“An efficient system of transportation must include rapid transit designed to meet a major part of the critical rush-hour need. Without rapid transit, highways and parking garages will consume the downtown areas; the advantages of central locations will decrease, the city will become fragmented and unworkable. The mental frustrations of congested highway travel will take its toll, not to mention the extra costs of second cars and soaring insurance rate. In Los Angeles where an … Continue reading