Thrive Explained: Adapting and expanding the role of parks

Posted by & filed under Planning, Public spaces.

By Casey Anderson and Jai Cole

Parks, recreation, and open space are the motherhood and apple pie of land-use planning and local government, with just about everyone agreeing on their value and appeal. But if you’ve ever been to a public meeting about a dog park or skateboard facility (or even a soccer field) you know that the consensus starts to break down when decisions are made about how parks and public spaces will be used and where the amenities to support them will be located.

Montgomery County has long been a leader in adopting forward-thinking policies to preserve land for parks, recreation, agriculture, and resource conservation. Thrive Montgomery 2050 builds on this legacy, partly by recommitting to state-of-the-practice … Continue reading

Despite the Headlines, Renters Never Left Dense Downtowns During Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Planning, Research.

Written by Todd Fawley-King, Lisa Govoni

During debates and testimony about the proposed Attainable Housing Strategy, multiple participants have wondered about the housing landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to allow for more housing in established single-family zones. Will people want to live in denser housing? Will we be able to satisfy our housing needs with the empty units sitting in our downtowns? Certainly the headlines from newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post gave that impression: “America’s biggest cities were already losing their allure;” “The Pandemic is making people reconsider city living.” These newspapers even verged on fearmongering: “Which cities are renters fleeing, and where are they going?;” “They can’t leave the Bay … Continue reading

Analyzing the future of mixed-use development in Montgomery County

Posted by & filed under Planning, Research.

A conversation with Research Planner Nicholas Holdzkom on the Montgomery County Mixed-use Development Study

By Nicholas Holdzkom and Karen Blyton

You may have noticed new apartment buildings in your area that are being built on top of grocery stores, restaurants, or other retailers.  Montgomery County has allowed mixed-use development in buildings around activity centers for many years with the goal of creating interactive streets, providing meaningful public spaces, and creating communities where people can live, work, shop, and play within a given neighborhood.  Numerous studies show that mixed-use districts generate higher real estate value, reduced vehicle miles traveled, and higher transit ridership. These mixed-use properties, which are common in downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda, have accounted for nearly 50 … Continue reading

A data-driven approach to addressing equity issues in Montgomery County

Posted by & filed under Research.

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

Thrive Explained: Why we need more of every kind of housing

Posted by & filed under Planning.

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

El lugar donde vive determina su salud y prosperidad económica

Posted by & filed under Planning.

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”.

Thrive Explained: How Design Can Add Value and Build Community

Posted by & filed under Planning.

Written by Casey Anderson and Nicholas Holdzkom

Design of the built environment strongly influences our quality of life. The pattern of development across a city, county, and region; the configuration of neighborhoods and districts; and the architecture of individual buildings collectively shape our perception of places and influence how we choose to travel, recreate, and socialize.

This series has explained how Thrive Montgomery 2050 addresses design at each of these scales. The post on compact growth outlined a countywide framework for concentrating development along corridors. The post on complete communities addressed design at the level of neighborhoods and districts, describing how a mix of uses and amenities can be built – literally and figuratively – on the foundation … Continue reading

Recognizing History from Home: Exploring Clarksburg’s Past Through Montgomery County’s Field of Dreams

Posted by & filed under Places.

Written by Kacy Rohn with Dan Stouffer, M.A.T, M.S.Ed and the Seneca Valley High School Leadership Class

Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office staff have recently engaged with a Seneca Valley High School class seeking further historic recognition for Wims Meadow, also known as Wims Field of Dreams, in Montgomery Parks’ Little Bennett Regional Park. The site was a ballfield for the county’s African American baseball teams at a time when racial segregation restricted social and recreational outlets for Black residents. The field, which is accessible from Western Piedmont Trail in Clarksburg, is often mowed in the general outline of the regulation baseball field that once existed, and a wooden, rectangular backstop stands nearby. 

Montgomery Planning Celebrates Earth Day: A Roundup of Five Key Environmental Blog Posts

Posted by & filed under Planning.

As a steward of Montgomery County’s natural and built environment, Montgomery Planning strives to create a sustainable future for all community members. In honor of Earth Day, we are rounding up five key blog posts from The Third Place written by Montgomery Planning staff over the years that highlight our committment to environmental resilience. This is especially important as we plan for the county’s next 30 years through the General Plan Update, Thrive Montgomery 2050. Also, check out more on how Montgomery Planning is planning to keep Montgomery County green on our website.

Setting the standard for Montgomery County’s sustainable development with the new M-NCPPC Wheaton Headquarters

By Paul Mortensen

In this blog post, Senior Urban Planner Paul … Continue reading

Future of the office market, Part 1: What will the post-pandemic office market mean to the growth and redevelopment of Montgomery County?

Posted by & filed under Places, Planning.

Written by Todd Fawley-King & Atul Sharma

The sudden experiment in widespread telework for office workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has pundits appropriately questioning the future of the office. Much of this discussion focuses on using technology to make buildings safer, but there are more fundamental questions about the need for and relevance of office space itself. The sector is at risk of disruption: an estimated 40% to 50% of the 472,126 jobs in Montgomery County could be performed at home by telecommuting.[i] That in turn has significant implications for real estate in Montgomery County, which has 1,533 office buildings offering 73.3 million leasable square feet, approximately 12% of which was vacant in Q4 2019 before … Continue reading