Join Planning Director Gwen Wright for Ask Me Anything Series

May 11, 2020

En Español
ask me anything

Montgomery Planning Director to answer questions virtually from the public on Thrive Montgomery 2050

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites Montgomery County community members to participate in Thrive Montgomery 2050’s “Ask Me Anything” series with Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright. Thrive Montgomery 2050 is the update to Montgomery County’s General Plan, its long-range policy framework for guiding future growth and development. The virtual town hall events will introduce the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan’s draft vision and goals to the community. The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams Live with a link that will be available prior to the start of the meeting. Community members can share their ideas and questions on social media using hashtag #Thrive2050 and through the Microsoft Teams question and answer function.

Schedule:

Spanish translation is available at all meetings. Residents can listen to the town halls live via telephone as well by dialing 301-495-4708 and entering the password 87871111

Residents can also provide comments at any time online, send an email to Thrive2050@montgomeryplanning.org or call 301-495-4556.

About Thrive Montgomery 2050

Thrive Montgomery 2050 will include policy guidance that reflects shared priorities for Montgomery County’s communities and guide land use decision making for the next 30 years. Thrive Montgomery 2050 focuses on three primary outcomes: community equity, economic health and environmental resilience.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and M-NCPPC’s commitment to safety above all else, all in-person events and activities for May have been cancelled. Instead, Montgomery Planning is inviting community members to participate in a series of virtual events where they can provide feedback on the latest work to plan for the future of Montgomery County over the next thirty years.

“We want to meet people where they are, at home, acknowledging that we’re all focused on the current pandemic situation and are all yearning for social connection,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “Even though we aren’t together in person, we’re continuing to share the work that we have done on the General Plan, incorporating many ideas and values from community members and local organizations. It is important to continue gathering feedback from the community, even during these uncertain times, as we develop this plan for Montgomery County to address our challenges and thrive into the future.”

Montgomery Planning staff presented the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Draft Vision and Goals to the Planning Board at a virtual meeting on April 16. It is the first component of an updated General Plan for the county.

View the April 16 Staff Report on the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Draft Vision and Goals Briefing.
View the Introduction to the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan.
View the Draft Vision and Goals.
View the Distance Engagement plan.

Background on Thrive Montgomery 2050, Future Challenges and Opportunities

During summer 2019, Montgomery Planning launched the update of Montgomery County’s General Plan, the county’s long-term framework for land use and development. This effort, called Thrive Montgomery 2050, will result in new countywide policies to help Montgomery County thrive by addressing the challenges and opportunities in the decades to come.

A lot has changed in the county since the Montgomery County Council originally approved the General Plan in 1964. Thrive Montgomery 2050 will guide future growth in response to the demographic shifts, technological innovations, changing lifestyles and economic disruptions that have taken place in recent decades.

The overriding question for Thrive Montgomery 2050 is how do we plan for our future? The Montgomery County of 50 years ago didn’t face the same changes we do today: climate change, the rise of the sharing economy, increasing population diversity, regional and global economic developments, autonomous vehicles, new technologies and so much more.  These changes will affect how we travel, live, work, play and interact with others.

With anticipated growth of more than 200,000 people within the next 25 to 30 years, how can we ensure our county will thrive with a strong economy, fairness and opportunity for a dynamic and diverse population, and environmental resilience to address the threats of climate change? And how can we grow in a way that will retain and enhance what we have and cherish today as a community while addressing challenges such as housing affordability, environmental degradation, social injustice and even traffic congestion?

COVID-19 and the Unpredictable Future

COVID-19 is a good example of how unpredictable the future is. It has forced us to adapt, even if temporarily, to new realities unthinkable only a few weeks ago. Before the coronavirus crisis, only about 6 to 7 percent of the workforce worked remotely full-time. What if in the post-COVID-19 era the share of people working remotely goes up to 20 or 30 percent? What kind of impact will it have on traffic congestion? How much reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will we experience? What if that share goes up to 50 percent? It may be unthinkable today, but COVID-19 has demonstrated that it is not only possible but quite feasible.

The events taking place as we write this plan place new emphasis on two concepts that we have included from the beginning: community equity and resilience. The pandemic exacerbates existing social and economic disparities and distresses that existed prior to the crisis. The concept of resilience, while frequently used in the environmental context as a response to climate change, is also about developing policies that help communities withstand economic and social challenges. Since it is futile to predict the future, the best we can do is to prepare for multiple possibilities and try to influence the outcomes in our favor. We can do that through an updated General Plan.