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
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
This blog was originally posted on August 4, 2021 and has been updated to add in research and information from the Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation and Research and Strategic Projects offices about the equity issues involved in examining Montgomery County’s industrial land uses.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s increase of e-commerce and package fulfillment, falling industrial vacancy rates, and the surge in development of industrial space regionally and nationwide have communities rethinking the amount of industrial land they need. Industrial clusters are often targeted for redevelopment when they are near transit facilities because they are less valuable per acre than higher density and/or higher rent, office, retail, and multifamily properties. Additionally, jurisdictions that are in the core of metropolitan areas … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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”.
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