Welcome to the re-introduction of the Montgomery County Planning Department Blog, now called The Third Place.
In planning, the third place is the social realm separate from the home and workplace. It provides an inclusive forum for the dialogue and debate crucial for civic engagement and community building. This blog will pursue many of the principles, ideas and examples behind the Montgomery County Planning Department’s programs and initiatives. It is hoped that it will foster greater engagement with all our communities and residents. We welcome your ideas and feedback.
Many national surveys indicate that Montgomery County is one of the highest educated and wealthiest counties in the country. We cherish our natural assets and work to preserve our … Continue reading
I like to revisit posts I have done. Not long ago I wrote about putting a value on historic preservation. Three recent developments bring me back to the subject. First, the Historic Preservation Commission recently approved 39 applications for the county’s historic preservation tax credits. The 39 projects represent nearly $1.5 million in private investment in historic properties in communities across the county. This is a good thing. As discussed in the previous post, money spent on historic preservation projects demonstrates a strong multiplier effect, making investments in historic rehabilitation particularly beneficial for local economics, jobs and businesses. The number of tax credit projects also bears note. The 39 projects represent perhaps a quarter, or less, of the projects … Continue reading
If you read my previous post for Historic Preservation Month, you know that in picking a theme for this year’s Preservation Month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued a challenge to people in communities across the country to discover hidden gems and celebrate local historic resources. Montgomery County historic preservation planners responded by preparing a list of historic resources we hope you will discover.
While Preservation Month has become a fun annual event to raise awareness and celebrate historic preservation nation-wide, our exploration of the county’s historic resources will continue long after we turn the page on May. Our efforts have led us to look beyond what many people recognize as historic, and to start thinking about buildings … Continue reading
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
Seattle’s Downtown Transit Tunnel was designed as a collaborative project between the project consultant (Parson Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas Inc.), the architecture subconsultant (TRA), and 25 artists. The team created what they have termed a distinct “art-itecture” for each station representative of the neighborhood it serves.
The result is a fantastic model for the stations along the proposed Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway.
Even after just a couple days riding the light-rail or buses through Seattle’s stations, a quick glance out the window provides a distinct impression that tells, or shows, where you are. The collaboration is obvious in the integration of artistic details and the creation of a place. You … Continue reading
On communities having more input. Not sure I’m down with the program advocated in all – or even most – cases. But important for particularly important locations and projects, e.g., civic buildings and open spaces.
An example of the grassroots process advocated above that did work: Paint Your Faith.
Paint Your Faith Video
On artists taking to the streets. But what isn’t more fun in Rome?
Share something in your local park. This is what the right to assembly is all about – knowledge pursued in public spaces.
Last, as if Rybczynski didn’t explain why our cities aren’t like Europe’s well enough – we’re still experimenting with ways to integrate bike transportation.
Wednesday night, planners held a community workshop and guided about 25 residents in using visual building blocks to express the characteristics they’d like to see in their community. The future Purple Line stations will change the neighborhood’s character and opportunities. This workshop and upcoming workshops are a chance for the community to define its future.
They began with maps, markers, and photos—the visual building blocks—and after talking about what they want their community to be—a place where you can walk to a hardware store or ride your bike to the park, they started to put their ideas on paper.
Planners Kathy Reilly and John Marcolin said the people here know their community and all its issues, an even though … Continue reading