Montgomery Planning Invites Community to Attend Thrive Montgomery 2050 Virtual Community Chats

June 1, 2020

Community Chat, Thrive Montgomery 2050
Planning staff invite the community to learn more about policy recommendations related to planning for the future of the county on housing, transportation, economy, environment and more

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites Montgomery County community members to attend Thrive Montgomery 2050’s Community Chat series. These virtual sessions will discuss the first draft of the policies and actions for each of the topic areas outlined in the Thrive Montgomery 2050 plan, the update to Montgomery County’s General Plan. The draft Thrive Montgomery policies and actions will be posted online on June 4 and presented to the Planning Board on June 11. The Community Chats will be held completely online with a link to the meetings being made available prior to the start of the meeting. Interested community members are strongly encouraged to RSVP for the meetings. Learn more about Thrive Montgomery 2050 outreach while social distancing.

“The Thrive Montgomery 2050 effort started with the Montgomery County community one year ago and it continues with the community,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “Through the summer, we will refine recommendations and we want community members to give us feedback on the topics that will be addressed with this important policy document which will guide how we thrive as a county for the next 30 years.”

Community Chat Schedule:

Please RSVP for this event and the link will be sent to you the day of the event or check the Montgomery Planning calendar of events the day before the event.

June 9 – (From Noon to 1 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Parks. The public is invited to join and ask questions. RSVP for the June 9 event.

June 10 – (From 5 to 6 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Diverse Economies. RSVP for the June 10 event.

June 16 – (From Noon to  1:30 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Connectedness. RSVP for the June 16 event.

June 17 – (From 7 to 8 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Healthy CommunitiesRSVP for the June 17 event.

June 22 – (From 7 to 8 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Safe and Efficient Travel. RSVP for the June 22 event.

June 23 – Montgomery Planning will hold two Community Chats. The first topic being discussed is Complete Communities (Noon to 1 p.m.) and the second topic is Healthy and Sustainable Environment (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.). RSVP for the June 23 Complete Communities event.  RSVP for the June 23 Healthy and Sustainable Environment event.

June 24 – Join Montgomery Planning as they host their second virtual happy hour, Pints with a Planner, focused on the topic of Housing. Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson and Housing Planner Lisa Govoni will discuss why the rent is too #$%! high and what policies we’re exploring in Thrive Montgomery 2050 to make housing more affordable and attainable. Join the conversation at bit.ly/PlannerPints from 5 to 6 p.m.

June 29 – (From Noon to 1 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Culture and Design.  RSVP for the June 29 event.

June 30 – (From 7 to 8 p.m.) The topic for this community chat is Diverse and Adaptable Growth. RSVP for the June 30 event.

For questions and comments, please send an email to Thrive2050@montgomeryplanning.org or call 301-495-4556.

About Thrive Montgomery 2050

The General Plan is Montgomery County’s long-range policy framework for guiding land use and growth. The update will outline shared priorities and guide 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  have been cancelled for the duration. Instead, Montgomery Planning is inviting community members to attend a series of virtual events where they can provide feedback on the latest work on planning for the future of Montgomery County.

“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.”

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, we need to be flexible and nimble, and be prepared to work with multiple possibilities and try to influence the outcomes in our favor. We can do that through an updated General Plan.