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By Robert Kronenberg, Montgomery Planning Deputy Director

A central focus of Montgomery Planning’s work plan for 2024 is housing. Like many places across the country, Montgomery County’s housing shortage has meant rising rents and housing prices. We’re committed to collaborating with our county and state government partners, the development community, and residents to find ways to expand our housing supply and make the county a more affordable place for everyone to live. A major part of making that happen is streamlining the review and approval process for new development in the county to become a reality quicker.

Last year, under the leadership of Maryland Delegate Lesley Lopez (District 39), representatives from Montgomery Planning, Montgomery Parks, Montgomery County government, developers, … Continue reading

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This is the second in a series of Third Place blogs taking a closer look at the winners of Montgomery Planning’s 2023 Design Excellence Awards.

Many of the concepts described in Montgomery County’s updated General Plan – Thrive Montgomery 2050 – were created to help support the belief that our physical environment has a direct impact on our chances for happy, prosperous lives. It proposes that within the county, well-designed cities, towns, neighborhoods, and public places are necessary to create complete communities where people and businesses can thrive and prosper.

Thrive 2050 builds on our past successes and proposes modifications to prevailing development patterns of the past 60 years, which focused more on building dispersed, isolated housing far … Continue reading

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This is the first in a series of Third Place blogs taking a closer look at the winners of Montgomery Planning’s 2023 Design Excellence Awards.

The best urban places in our region are those that are compact, pedestrian friendly, mixed-use, and supported by transit. The transit, pedestrian, and bicycle systems help to maximize access and mobility while reducing dependence on the automobile. In these places, and in the best neighborhoods in our region, architecture and landscape design defines streets and public spaces as places of shared use. These walkable and visually interesting neighborhoods linked to our natural corridors, parks and preserves are accomplishing many of the goals of Montgomery County’s new General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, and its … Continue reading

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As the newly appointed planning director, my new year is defined by two key ideas: opportunity and optimism.

I am humbled by the opportunity to lead a nearly 100-year-old institution as it plans for our county’s future. Building on the work of my predecessors and the ideas codified by the Planning Board and the County Council in Thrive Montgomery 2050, Montgomery Planning  will remain focused on developing plans that advance equity, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.

We will also seek opportunities for meaningful innovation. From policies and urban design practices that emphasize our county’s commitment to affordable housing to our equity-centered community engagement strategies, we will propose and embrace strategies that welcome new residents and improve the quality of … Continue reading

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By George Lettis

In October 2023, Montgomery Planning showed why we continue to be a thought leader in the Washington, DC region and the nation for our independent, innovative, and inclusive community planning. The American Planning Association (APA) – the largest membership organization of professional planners and planning leaders and experts – consistently recognizes our expertise and work products that exemplify the best in planning principles, creativity, and effectiveness and solidify Montgomery County’s status as Maryland’s economic engine and a national model for enhancing quality of life for current and future generations.

Two cases in point: Montgomery Planning won a prestigious national Award of Excellence from APA’s County Planning Division and the National Association of County Planners (NACP) and was honored to … Continue reading

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Searching for Lost Cemeteries

Montgomery Planning maintains the Montgomery County Burial Sites Inventory, a listing of over 300 cemeteries and burial sites around the county dating from before the arrival of Europeans in Maryland to burial grounds still in use today. However, there are 80 burial sites in the inventory that are no longer visible, and historical records only tell us approximately where they were. This may be because the graves were never marked, or the markers have been moved or have deteriorated. We are looking for these lost burial grounds, and we hope to get some help from modern technology – ground penetrating radar (GPR) – to recover this part of the county’s hidden past.

What is GPR? … Continue reading

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By James Hedrick, Commissioner, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Montgomery Parks Summer Adventure Challenge with Kids

I don’t know anything about parks.

I’m a Commissioner on the Montgomery County side of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and I really don’t know anything about parks.

My background is in affordable housing and development – the planning side of the Commission. Most of what I know about parks is limited to about a decade of taking my kids to parks hoping that they will wear themselves out before bedtime.

Given my need to expand my knowledge of Montgomery County’s parks system, the Commission’s August recess offered a good opportunity to become more familiar with at least … Continue reading

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Montgomery County is a great place to live, work, learn, visit, and grow—but residents have different experiences depending on where they live and their socioeconomic background. One of the most important parts of our work planning for the future of every county community is understanding how socioeconomic conditions differ from neighborhood to neighborhood.

What is the Community Equity Index?

The Community Equity Index (CEI) – a new Montgomery Planning tool – is a composite measure of five indicators (defined below) of how the county’s socioeconomic diversity is distributed, or which neighborhoods have concentrated advantage or disadvantage and which neighborhoods are representative of the county’s diversity. The CEI allows Montgomery Planning, our partner agencies, and the public to better … Continue reading

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By James Lee and Benjamin Kraft

Latest data reflect county’s status as a populous, maturing suburb

Montgomery Planning’s Research and Strategic Projects (RSP) Division is responsible for developing Montgomery County’s long-range forecasts for employment, population, and households as part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (MWCOG) Cooperative Forecast Program. The Round 10 forecast was recently completed, and new numbers show over the next 30 years the county is projected to experience growth in population, households, and jobs. The growth rate, however, is estimated to be at a slower pace than previous forecasts, reflecting the county’s status as a populous, maturing suburb. The forecast estimates the county will add 143,000 jobs (up from 493,600 in 2020 to 636,500 in … Continue reading

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Distinguished jury to choose 2023 Design Excellence Award Winners

Design excellence in architecture requires balancing the functional goals and artistic vision of a building or landscape to inspire people and support a great community—and, at every scale, it offers the power to help sustain our environmental, social, and economic vitality well into the future.

Montgomery County’s Design Excellence initiatives celebrate architecture and landscapes that make everyday life more beautiful and create spaces that enhance social interaction as well as fulfill specific functions. The annual Design Excellence Awards spotlight our county’s very best designs, and submissions are now open through July 17, 2023. Submit contenders for the two select Awards, one for outstanding Architectural, Urban Design and Landscape design, and … Continue reading