Montgomery Planning’s 10 Most Read Blogs for 2018

December 27, 2018

top 10 blog posts

The Third Place blog covers important planning issues, from placemaking and office building conversions to economic competitiveness

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department is pleased to announce its 10 top blogs of 2018. Posted on The Third Place, which is named for the social realm separate from home and office, the staff-written posts examine the issues confronted by Montgomery Planning as part of its work to enhance communities in the county.

“The Third Place blog provides a great forum for community members to learn more about important planning topics and issues that affect Montgomery County,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “As planners, we work on these issues daily and the blog is a forum for sharing what we’ve learned and what we see in the future, beyond individual plans and development projects.”

The 10 most read blogs of 2018 are as follows:

Converting Office to Residential is Complicated: This blog examines the roles of economics, location, architectural design and zoning regulations in determining new uses for vacant office buildings.

Montgomery County’s Economy: The Good, the Bad and the Future: Written by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, this entry in a series of posts outlines the assets, including high paying jobs and a well educated workforce, that can continue to support the quality of life in the county.

New Suburbanism: Not Just for Millennials: Anderson reveals the broad appeal of compact, walkable neighborhoods near transit among various age groups. He urges investment in public transportation so more transit-oriented development is available to residents across the income spectrum.

Parking Lots: Before and After: Shopping centers and asphalt wastelands are being transformed into attractive, mixed-use developments, such as Pike & Rose off Rockville Pike. This blog points to the plans that set the stage for turning more parking lots into places where people want to be.

Real Estate Development Is Infrastructure: Using housing and job statistics, this post makes a case for private development as a necessity. Just as schools, roads and rail lines are needed for our communities to support economic activity, so, too, are housing, stores and offices required to serve basic human needs.

Wages, Inequality and the Aging of the Workforce: Challenges to the county’s future economic competitiveness, including flat median incomes and an aging population, are described in this blog.

Focusing Vision Zero in the Suburbs: Through recent planning efforts, Montgomery County is developing strategies to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2030. Vision Zero recommendations include reducing lane widths and speed limits and adding more crossing areas to improve safety for all road users.

Population, Job Growth and Housing Supply: Statistics show Montgomery County’s population will increase only less than 1 percent a year, but this blog reveals that the rate of new housing construction is still insufficient to keep up with even the slow growth of residents and jobs.

Placemaking in Action: This blog explains how Montgomery Planning put theories about public gathering places into practice by partnering with the Dallas-based Better Block Foundation to transform a shopping center parking lot into a pop-up park with the help of residents.

New Suburbanism: Walkability and Transit: Three key ingredients – pedestrian and bicycling access, mixed uses and compact neighborhood form – are essential to creating better suburban communities, this blog argues, even in areas without access to high-quality transit.