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Winter 2014-15 Speakers Series


Note: This series occurred in 2014-15. Presentations from the series are available below.

Speaker Series Examines Past and Future Planning of Montgomery County

Planners, architects and historians reveal how politics and policies shaped the community

Since last November, the Montgomery County Planning Department has featured former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson in a speakers series called: “A Once and Future County: Lessons From How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County,” focusing on planning politics in Montgomery County. The evening sessions have highlighted how planning policies helped to make the county what it is today and where it is going in the future.

The five evening sessions offer presentations by Royce Hanson, former chairman of the County’s Planning Board; panel discussions among regional planning experts; and question-and-answer sessions with attendees. Topics will reflect the subject of Hanson’s soon-to-be published book: Suburb: Planning Politics and the Public Interest in Montgomery County 1910-2010.


  • Session 1: November 12: “Planners, Politicians and How Montgomery County Got This Way”
  • Session 2: December 10: “Retrofitting the Suburbs: From Friendship Heights to White Flint”
  • Session 3: January 14: “Trials and Errors of Corridor Cities Planning”
  • Session 4: February 11: “Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve”
  • Session 5: March 11 “Hunting the Snark: Growth Policy and the Public Interest”

Session 1

The first session, “PLANNERS, POLITICIANS AND HOW MONTGOMERY COUNTY GOT THIS WAY,” was held on November 12, 2014. It focused on the county’s development from the end of the First World War to the present day. The presentation examined the competing interests in approaching development; the strategic decisions of governing regimes; and the evolution of public engagement within the planning process.

Royce Hanson’s presentation (pdf, 900KB)

Session 2

The second session on December 10 will address “RETROFITTING THE SUBURBS: FROM FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS TO WHITE FLINT,” tracing the evolution of strategic land use decisions in key areas of the county. Discussion will focus on the influence of residential and commercial interests, the County Planning Board and its staff, County Council and County Executive, and changing approaches to planning.


Session 3

Session three on January 14, 2015, “TRIALS AND ERRORS OF CORRIDOR CITIES PLANNING,” focuses\d on the planning politics and development in the Rockville-Gaithersburg area; the challenges of a new town in Germantown; and the planning and development of Clarksburg.

Check out this short video recapping the third Winter Speakers Series event featuring Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, Councilmember Nancy Floreen and former Chair Royce Hanson.

Full video of the event:

Session 4

Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve

Session four on February 11, 2015, “CREATING AND SUSTAINING THE COUNTY’S AGRICULTURAL RESERVE,” traces the 30-year effort to protect the rural landscape and the working farms of upper Montgomery County. It discusses the technical planning, legal and political challenges that were overcome to establish the Agricultural Reserve in 1980 and sustain a working landscape against continuing efforts to compromise its integrity.

Link to original video


Session 5

On March 11, 2015, the final session, “HUNTING THE SNARK: GROWTH POLICY AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST,” evaluates the effects of the 40-year evolution of county growth policy on development patterns. It will discuss the institutional structure of planning in Montgomery County for effective and democratically accountable land use policy.

Full video of the event:



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Last Updated: November 27, 2017