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Two-day festival in October 2018 brings community members together to design and build a pop-up public space in the Randolph Hills Shopping Center

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Planners have all heard the word “placemaking.” This term is often used in presentations, master plans and marketing pitches for development projects. The Montgomery County Planning and Parks Departments have invited several experts over the past year to discuss the potential of placemaking as a tool to improve, transform and celebrate local communities and cultures. Everybody seems to be talking about it as a good thing for our county.

But what does true, community-led placemaking look like? And how can communities actually DO placemaking?

To find out the answer, the Planning and Parks Departments invited residents to brainstorm ideas for a gathering space in the Randolph Hills Shopping Center and then apply these concepts to transform a grassy field and part of the parking lot in a matter of days.

Starting on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, residents, local business owners and local school representatives will build a pop-up park offering food, arts activities, children’s play areas and a fitness zone. The community members will work hand in hand with local government to realize their vision for a public space in their neighborhood. Crosswalks will be painted, murals drawn and painted, furniture built from scratch and trees moved around to create a place people love.

The Montgomery County Planning and Parks Departments are co-sponsoring this two-day event, which ends on Sunday, October 14 and is called the White Flint Placemaking Festival. They have given the resources and green light to residents to realize the vision of the White Flint 2 Sector Plan for their neighborhood with a little elbow grease.

The event will offer building and play activities for all ages and abilities. Local artists and makers will showcase their talents. Local musicians will play throughout the two days, restaurateurs will sell food and drinks, and fitness businesses will host free classes for kids and adults. The idea is to bring members of the community together and give them a space to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate each other’s talents and contributions to make their community unique and loved.

The White Flint Placemaking Festival will be the region’s first event co-sponsored by the Better Block Foundation, which is dedicated to improving neighborhoods. It will be the county’s first pop-up urban park and a prime example of Montgomery County’s continuing placemaking campaign.

Most of all, this weekend event will be the culmination of months of hard work from neighbors who love their neighborhood and want to make it better for themselves, their children and anyone else who comes to visit.

So come join us in this celebration of community, culture and, yes, placemaking!

Where: Randolph Hills Shopping Center, 4921 Wyaconda Road, Rockville, MD

When: Saturday, October 13 from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, October 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Planning and Parks Departments are organizing the event in partnership with the Dallas-based Better Block Foundation, Randolph Civic Association of North Bethesda and AR Kronstadt Realty Investors of Rockville. Better Block is an internationally acclaimed urban design nonprofit that aims to educate, equip and empower communities and their leaders to reshape and promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

Learn more about this exciting placemaking project.