The Montgomery Civic Federation is hosting a conference featuring planners, the Parks Department, County agencies, and bicycle advocates to discuss just what it will take to make Montgomery bike-friendly.
This is a BYOB (bring your own bike) event, so pedal on over and find out what policies and projects are being considered.
The ongoing Lego (R) exhibit, Towering Ambition, at the National Building Museum has some very cool models of famous buildings, but also provides a play area for kids and families.
More interesting than the models, however, are the prompts about land use and community planning hanging around and adorning the space where kids (and adults) can play with the Legos.
Rather than focus on cool buildings, like the exhibit, these prompts ask budding designers to think about places beyond the bounds of an individual building, to think like a town planner (and a rather progressive one at that).
Unfortunately the prompts still relegate land uses to separate building forms, but do suggest locating them near one another.
I think … Continue reading
On the heels of an agriburbia post, we have our own little backyard food supply at park and planning–our vegetable garden is setting up for the season.
The crew of after-work-hours volunteers had already planted some cool weather crops–lettuces, radishes, celery–and moved some estaablished herbs to the stairway beds, but last night we planted in anticpation of warm weather–tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, squash, bush beans, and more chard! We’ve even managed to harvest already–last year’s chard and kale that wintered over–and we’ve found a few sweet, overlooked carrots.
This year, we’re putting flowers in the center, where it’s harder to harvest and we’re putting potatoes on our green roof near Georgia Avenue, where we hope the cascade of vines will … Continue reading
Parking is one of the single-most controversial aspects of development splitting generally along the lines of “we don’t require enough” versus “we require too much”. Parking management is an issue that affects congestion, pollution, pedestrian comfort & safety, potential for open space and green areas, business revitalization feasibility, and many other topics. With so many factors being effected, it’s probable that no model we develop will make everyone (or maybe anyone) completely happy. But it is our task to try.
As many know, the parking ratios we apply to commercial uses have not been updated for decades. And our shared-use model is still based on maximum demand. With this in mind, the County’s DOT and MNCPPC were directed to … Continue reading
This Utne Reader article describes what may be a subdivision trend–designing residential neighborhods integral to farms.
New developments in Chicago, Atlanta, and Colorado are moving beyond community gardens and contracting with farmers to run and manage the farm next door. And as the article points out, there is the potential for conflict, “pesticide drift,” etc. This is why we zoned in the first place, to separate percieved noxious uses, and even though these residents will be a self-selected group ready to get their hands dirty, fresh tomatos are one thing, manure is quite another. When you look at the websites, there is a definite “people like us” vibe that makes you wonder if agriburbia is the green equivalent of a gated community.
But … Continue reading
A couple years ago, the EPA published a very concise, well-conceived, and practical guide for municipalities to turn smart-growth principles into regulations. Titled “Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes“,the publication outlines 11 “fixes”:
Allow or Require Mixed-Use Zones Use Urban Dimensions in Urban Places Rein in and Reform the Use of Planned Unit Developments Fix Parking Requirements [more on this in an upcoming blog] Increase Density and Intensity in Centers Modernize Street Standards Enact Standards to Foster Walkable Places Designate and Support Preferred Growth Areas and Development Sites Use Green Infrastructure to Manage Stormwater Adopt Smart Annexation Policies Encourage Appropriate Development Densities on The Edge
Of course, as partners with HUD and DOT in the … Continue reading
Bike sharing is a natural for Miami Beach. Yup, even in a place where Lamborghinis jostle with Bentleys in the public parking lots, a bike is cool.
The island is flat, warm, laid out in a gridded street pattern, and partially ringed with off-road bike routes that pass by a marina, Government Cut, South Pointe Park, and the beach. If you live and work on the Beach, a $15.00 monthly Deco Bikes membership gets you unlimited access. If you’re a tourist, just swipe your credit card, choose a bike, and pedal off.
The docking stations are located all over the island, and I wonder if there will be an obvious pattern of use. In Montreal, Bixi bikes all go downhill … Continue reading
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a full day in Cleveland, Ohio. And I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. As it turns out, Cleveland is a pretty nice place.
I’d only ever passed through Cleveland on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited in the middle of the night. So I was unsure of what to expect, but my perceptions certainly focused on Cleveland as a rust belt city with some pretty serious environmental problems.
What I found was a city (and a region) facing a severe economic crisis, but one whose downtown and core neighborhoods cling to vibrancy. I was impressed with the urban form of Downtown, a district which has seen better days, but whose architecture … Continue reading
guest post by Kristin O’Connor
Now If We Can Get the Brook Back in Twinbrook
Ah, the environmental benefits of reusing a building—a very large building with tons of existing steel and concrete. Built in the early 1970s, the 18-story Parklawn building is the tallest, most prominent in Twinbrook. Formerly, it housed the Food and Drug Administration before it consolidated employees in White Oak. Since then, much of the building has been vacant.
The cost savings of building materials and energy make this a good sustainable decision. Additionally, the building’s proximity to the Red Line Metro station and the WMATA/JBG’s Twinbrook Station development, makes re-using the 1.3 million square foot building a good financial and sustainable option for any … Continue reading
The recent U.S. Census shows that the average age of farmers is rising across the country as well as in Montgomery County. The EPA notes, “As the U.S. farm population has dwindled, the average age of farmers continues to rise. In fact, about forty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The graying of the farm population has led to concerns about the long-term health of family farms as an American institution.”
But as other groups and media have observed, change may be afoot. The New York Times has tagged the increase in young hipster farmers in Oregon as a trend. And they find that young farmers across the … Continue reading