Planning Department Launches Burtonsville Placemaking Effort at a Community Kick-Off Meeting on June 4

June 11, 2019

burtonsville placemaking
Montgomery Planning and Better Block Foundation joined community members to discuss reimagining an area as a temporary public space at the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and the Dallas-based nonprofit Better Block Foundation are cosponsoring a special initiative to reimagine part of Burtonsville’s commercial center as a lively public space and park.

As part of the Burtonsville placemaking initiative, a community festival will be held on October 5-6, 2019 at the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center to bring together residents, visitors, local business owners and representatives of civic associations. In preparation for this event, the Montgomery County Planning Department in partnership with the Better Block Foundation hosted a kick-off meeting on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Burtonsville Elementary School.

Attended by more than 70 community members, the evening event featured a keynote presentation about community placemaking by Better Block CEO Jason Roberts. Attendees shared thoughts and ideas on how placemaking could be used as a tool to build community in the Burtonsville area.

The Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center comprises approximately 13 acres at the intersection of Old Columbia Pike and Sandy Springs Road. The shopping center was previously anchored by a Giant supermarket that was relocated to the Burtonsville Town Square Shopping Center in 2010. The building remains vacant, along with some empty office and retail space at the shopping center.

Learn more about Burtonsville Placemaking.

New Online Community Survey for Burtonsville Placemaking

Montgomery Planning and the Better Block Foundation have created a community survey to determine the types of installations that the community wants to experience at the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center and ensure the temporary public space will bring people together.

The online community survey is now available until July 1.

The transformed outdoor space at the shopping center will host food and retail vendors, Montgomery Parks’ activities and features, and a fun and inviting place for residents during the October 2019 public celebration. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 5 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The project is modeled on the White Flint Placemaking Festival that took place in October 2018 and drew more than 1,000 people. The Burtonsville festival will build on the success of this event to demonstrate the power of placemaking.

The placemaking effort will realize a recommendation stated in 2012 Approved and Adopted Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan to transform Burtonsville into a complete community through design by providing a public open space.

What is Placemaking?

Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of the community. It strengthens the connections between community members and the places they share. Placemaking refers to a collaborative process that shapes our public realm in order to maximize value. This concept goes beyond just promoting better urban design principles.  Placemaking facilitates creative thinking, capitalizes on community assets and contributes to the community’s health, happiness and well-being. More than livable, these places are loved.

Purpose of the Burtonsville Placemaking Festival:

  • Highlight the vision and recommendations of the approved and adopted Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan.
  • Demonstrate ways of achieving plan recommendations for public spaces through short-term solutions before major investments are made.
  • Embrace placemaking as a means of capturing shared values and generating ideas for public spaces.
  • Engage local businesses, schools and community members in a dialogue about the role of public spaces and streetscape designs within their community.
  • Encourage property owners to plan for the long-term transformation of their properties.
  • Use temporary placemaking as a tool to gather data and help inform permanent designs for successful public spaces and streetscapes in the Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan
  • Make a positive impact on the community with a public space that can be used for community events after the placemaking festival and was underutilized before the event.

For more information, contact Angelica Gonzalez at or 301-495-4583.