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Posts tagged ‘ReThink Montgomery’

Jun 1 10

Time to Play! Restoring Children’s Outdoor Play through Planning to be Explored at ReThink Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Considering the increasing shortage of opportunities for children to take part in outdoor activities, a national child advocate will talk about how to restore play into kids’ lives as part of Thursday’s Rethink Montgomery Speaker Series.

Joan Almon, executive director of the Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit organization advocating healthy and creative childhoods, focuses on restoring play in children’s lives. Founded in 1999, the alliance works to integrate play into academic settings, but also in parks, neighborhoods and wilderness settings – of interest to planners trying to create communities that nurture young residents, too.

The presentation will be the last of the Planning Department’s spring speaker series, which kicked off in April with weekly sessions illuminating concepts of economy, knowledge, food, ecology, energy, culture, resources and infrastructure.

Almon’s presentation falls under health, which is receiving increasing attention from county planners encouraging healthy lifestyles by planning jobs and development near transit to encourage walking as well as bike trails, parks and civic-gathering areas. Almon’s presentation on increasing physical activities for kids is especially relevant as planners and others try to combat child obesity.

Almon co-authored the report, Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School. She will discuss how her group helps promote policies and practices that support children’s healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living.

Almon received a BA in sociology from the University of Michigan and has taken graduate courses in Waldorf education. She has worked as a Kindergarten teacher, a trainer of Waldorf early childhood educators and has written or co-authored numerous articles and reports on early childhood.

Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) are pending for planning professionals.

Who:
Joan Almon, executive director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series – Health

When: 
Thursday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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May 25 10

Federal Energy Expert to Highlight Outlook for Liquid Fuels at Next ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – With energy supplies tightening and need for vehicle-powering liquid fuels continuing apace, how are we to reconcile the gap between supply and demand? As part of Montgomery County’s Rethink Montgomery Speaker Series, a federal energy information officer will highlight the outlook for and challenges to our fuel supply on Thursday.

A. Michael Schaal, director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Oil and Gas Division, will discuss his office’s primary focus—producing the annual outlook for oil, natural gas and biofuels – as well as the consequences of a 2007 landmark act on transportation fuels.

In the context of the current oil spill in the Gulf, Schaal’s information on energy projections is particularly relevant.

As director of the energy division overseeing oil and gas information, Schaal plays a watchdog role on fuel supply and demand. Fuel demand, thanks to new energy efficiency standards, is expected to flatten as we head into the 2020s, Schaal notes, partly thanks to the 2007 federal Independence and Securities Act, which requires car companies to meet a fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon for vehicles by 2020 and for gas stations to sell an increasing amount of biofuels. In his presentation, Schaal will explain the impact of the Act, both nationally and regionally.

Schaal also will discuss the expectations for the renewable fuel supply, such as biofuels and cellulose-based fuels.

Previously, Schaal worked as a professional engineer with Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, where he was involved in economic analysis, engineering, construction, and operations of first-of-a-kind facilities, and as a consultant with Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc., advising clients on natural gas and power sector issues. 

Schaal received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the California State University in 1986, and his Masters degree in Mineral Economics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1995.

Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) are pending for planning professionals.

Who:
A. Michael Schaal

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series – Energy

When
Thursday, May 27, 7:30 p.m.

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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May 17 10

How Can Shared Spaces Improve Connectivity and Sustainability? Join the Planning Department at the ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series May 20

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – What makes a great community? Many say it’s the connections between residents.

Kate Herrod, director of Ashoka’s Community Greens, is on a mission to restore a sense of community to neighborhoods across the country by transforming humble spaces like alleys and vacant community lots into shared public spaces, some supporting homes and businesses. Herrod will headline the Planning Department’s ReThink Montgomery weekly speaker series on Thursday, May 20. This week’s topic: “ReThink Ecology”

The nonprofit Community Greens focuses it services to residents at the street-level. In Baltimore, the organization succeeded in convincing city and state leaders about the benefits of greening alleys. Today, thanks to new state legislation and a city ordinance, residents can “green” or gate alleys adjacent to their homes if 80 percent of affected neighbors agree. Since the ordinance passed, Baltimore’s Department of Public Works has heard from residents living on 60 blocks interested in greening their alleys.

Community Greens has worked directly with residents to help them merge their back yards into vibrant, sustainable community spaces. In the Baltimore neighborhood of Patterson Park, residents agreed to help test the shared back yard concept. A group of art students from a nearby college designed the gates, and the city police force lauded the community’s efforts for its public safety benefits, such as offering more eyes on the streets and rapid access to the alleys.

Herrod, who has been directing the Community Greens effort for the last four years, will describe how the transformation process works and the benefits it brings to communities.

Baltimore was the pilot site, but the organization is expanding to other places, such as Sandpoint, Idaho and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Herrod’s talk is the latest in the 2010 Planning Department speaker series, ReThink Montgomery. With presentations scheduled every week through the spring, the series provides an opportunity for the board, planners and the general public to hear from experts how nine elements of sustainability weave together and pose opportunities for planning great communities.

Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) have been approved for planning professionals.

Who:
Kate Herrod, director, Ashoka’s Community Greens

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series – Ecology

When: 
7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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May 3 10

Considering Diverse Cultures – and How to Reach Them — at Next ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County is home to many diverse cultures. This week, the Planning Department’s ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series will explore how members of cultural communities communicate and connect – both outside and within their communities.

On Thursday, Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, Megan Moriarty of IMPACT Silver Spring, Rassa Davoodpour, a leader in the Persian community, and Tebabu Assefa, an Ethiopian community leader and activist, will participate in a panel discussion on the communication norms within groups bound by a common culture.

At the fifth discussion of the ReThink Montgomery series, panelists will be asked to reflect about how people within their cultural circle think about community connections and county planning.

In his county-appointed position at the regional services center, Rodriguez oversees policy development and the delivery of public services for the Silver Spring area. Previously, he worked as a training manager for a community building program and coordinated curriculum for the Community Leadership Institutes, a group of residents, volunteers, and partners of NeighborWorks Network member organizations. His background includes community organizing, leadership development, civic participation, community design, urban planning, and teaching at the graduate level.

Moriarty of IMPACT leads a team of staff, residents and community partners responsible for building a network in the Wheaton area and supporting residents along a continuum of leadership development and community action. Prior to her job with IMPACT, she worked for the Montgomery County Community Foundation and at the Inter-American Foundation managing grassroots development projects in Central America.

Davoodpour is a manager with the Office of Special Projects in the county’s Department of General Services who focuses on moving and expanding existing uses to different sites from a macro perspective to provide long-term solutions for public facility needs. Actively involved in Persian communities since her arrival in the U.S. in 1979, Davoodpour served on the board for the Iran Cultural and Educational Center, which preserves and promotes Iranian culture.

Ethiopian native Tebabu Assefa works in the fine arts and communication, including development of a marketing strategy to bridge 130,000 small coffee growers of Ethiopia, organized under a cooperative union, with the global fair trade market. He also supports enterprise in the local African-American and Caribbean markets with projects such as Africa Unbound, the Ethiopian Cultural Museum of Chicago, and Greener Ethiopia, a community based tree planting program. In 2008, Assefa was awarded the community activist award by the Takoma Foundation, where he now serves as a board member and is Governor O’Malley appointee to the Governor's Commission on African Affairs.

Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) are pending for planning professionals.

Who:
Reemberto Rodriguez, director, Silver Spring Regional Services Center
Megan Moriarty, community organizer, IMPACT Silver Spring
Rassa Davoodpour, a leader in the Iranian community
Tebabu Assefa, an Ethiopian community leader and activist

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series – Culture

When: 
7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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Apr 26 10

Reusing Construction Materials the Subject of Next ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Planning Department’s Rethink Montgomery Speaker Series is exploring how the county can use all its resources—land, people, knowledge, and more—to create a sustainable future.

Giving resources a second life will be the subject of the fourth presentation during this week’s  speaker series panel at the Montgomery County Planning Board. Representatives from organizations specializing in reselling building materials and home goods will describe their work and how it contributes to community goals like recycling and economically sound public projects.

The Resources panel will be made up of Adeela Abbasi of Habitat ReStore of Montgomery County; Ruthie Mundell of Community Forklift, Edmonston, Prince George’s County; and Jason Holstine of Amicus Green Building Center, Kensington.

Abbasi is the marketing and communications manager at the ReStore, a nonprofit outlet that resells donated furnishings, appliances, and building supplies at discount prices, with proceeds going toward building affordable housing for low-income families in Montgomery County. Affiliated with Habitat for Humanity, ReStore aims to recycle donated new and used building supplies and furnishings while helping low-income families achieve home ownership.

Community Forklift recycles building materials as part of a nonprofit program that encourages donations of building materials like lumber, light fixtures, mantelpieces, and kitchen cabinets,  then makes them available to the public at a discount. In its five-year existence, Community Forklift has kept thousands of tons of materials out of the landfill and made homes repairs more affordable for thousands of Washington, D.C., region homeowners, small businesses, and nonprofits.

Amicus Green Building Center supplies green building materials for consumers, builders, employers, and developers throughout the region. Founder and president Holstine says his company aims to help people live, work and play in sustainable, comfortable, healthy, affordable and responsible buildings. Amicus’ consulting arm advises organizations on how to lessen the environmental impact of their operations and supply chains.

The resources panel will be the fourth in the 2010 Planning Department speaker series, ReThink Montgomery. With presentations scheduled every week through the spring, the series provides an opportunity for the board, planners and the general public to hear from experts how nine elements of sustainability weave together and pose opportunities for planning great communities.

Learn more about the ReThink Montgomery speaker series.

Who:
Adeela Abbasi, Habitat ReStore; Ruthie Mundell, Community Forklift; and Jason Holstine of Amicus Green Building Center, Kensington

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

When: 
7:30 p.m. April 29

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

Apr 19 10

Montgomery County Farmers, Advocates to Explore Local Food Connections as Part of Planning Department’s ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, the large swath of protected farmland across the county’s northern and western edges, is home to more than 500 farms. In a climate of increased interest in locally produced food, this week’s ReThink Montgomery speaker series panel at the Planning Board will discuss the future of Montgomery County farming and how the Reserve contributes to sustainability.  

Many Americans have become disconnected from the source of their food. Despite the prevalence of farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer channels, only a small percentage of local farm products wind up in local markets. With a growing number of people interested in gardening, shopping at farmers markets, visiting pick-your-own farms, and subscribing to community-supported agriculture operations, the presentation offers an opportunity to discuss how those trends may affect farmers in Montgomery County.  

Panelists include Ben Allnutt of Homestead Farms, and Wade Butler of Butler Orchards, two Montgomery County pick-your-own farms, Gordon Clark of Montgomery Victory Gardens, a nonprofit organization promoting local food, and Jeremy Criss of the county’s Department of Economic Development-Agricultural Services Division.

Among their topics: the intersection of farms and urban areas and how different farm products can lead to new relationships between producer and consumer. For planners, considering resident access to food may become an increasing part of their community visioning work.

The farm panel will be the third in the 2010 Planning Department speaker series, ReThink Montgomery. With presentations scheduled every week through the spring, the series provides an opportunity for the board, planners and the general public to hear from experts how nine elements of sustainability weave together and pose opportunities for planning great communities. Thursday’s session focuses on food.
Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) are pending for planning professionals.

Learn more about the ReThink Montgomery speaker series.

Who:

Ben Allnutt, Homestead Farms
Wade Butler of Butler Orchards
Gordon Clark of Montgomery Victory Gardens,
Jeremy Criss, Department of Economic Development- Agricultural Services Division.

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

When:  
7:30 p.m. April 22

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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Apr 12 10

Advocates to Reveal Area Attitudes toward Cycling as Part of Planning Department’s ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – What would it take to get more people to trade their car commute for a bicycle in the Washington, D.C., region? More bike parking? A place to shower and change clothes? More bike lanes and paths?

Participants in this week’s ReThink Montgomery presentation at the Montgomery County Planning Board will learn what 10,000 federal government employees think about bicycling – both those who regularly pedal around Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, and those who drive past them. Casey Anderson, a Washington Area Bicyclist Association board member, will share findings from a research poll delving into attitudes toward bicycling. 

Those opinions, characteristics and experiences regarding area bicycling present implications for land use and transportation planning in Montgomery County, where planners have drafted many bike- and pedestrian-friendly community plans. Half a dozen recent plan drafts from Gaithersburg West to Takoma-Langley Crossroads feature well-thought-out bike connections to public transportation, jobs and other services.

Anderson will be joined by Richard Layman, a bike and pedestrian planner in the Baltimore area who has focused on urban revitalization for the last decade. He has worked on Washington, D.C.’s H Street and Brookland Main Street programs and hosts a nationally respected blog, “Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space,” that covers a variety of urban revitalization issues, with a special focus on transportation.

Layman says transportation-related investments are among the most significant factors in urban revitalization of neighborhoods. His presentation will consider strategies to encourage sustainable transportation in a suburban context.  In particular, promoting suburban cycling requires approaches that help drivers make the switch to bicycling because, compared to urban areas, suburban conditions — the road network, traffic speeds, limited rights of way, and the distances between home and major destinations — tend to be challenging.

Anderson and Layman make up the second panel in the 2010 Planning Department speaker series, ReThink Montgomery. With presentations scheduled every week through the spring, the series provides an opportunity for the board, planners and the general public to hear from experts how nine elements of sustainability weave together and pose opportunities for planning great communities. Thursday’s session focuses on infrastructure.

Continuing education credits are pending for AIA members.

Who:
Casey Anderson, Washington Area Bicyclist Association
Richard Layman, urban revitalization expert and transportation planner

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

When: 
7:30 p.m. April 15

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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Apr 1 10

Planning Department Launches ReThink Montgomery, a Weekly Speaker Series Focusing on Smart Growth, Livability

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING – In response to changing demographics, economics and lifestyles, the Montgomery County Planning Department will host a spring speaker series that focuses on ways to meet the challenges of change as we manage growth to shape great communities.

The Rethink Montgomery speaker series focuses on ways to connect culture, health, food, knowledge, ecology, economy, infrastructure, resources, and energy as part of a re-examination of Montgomery County. Experts will join planners and the public to analyze how such elements  should be considered as part of planning to create quality places.

How planners link those elements will define Montgomery County for the next several decades. For example, culture plays a big role in how many residents define themselves, their values and their communities. How we use space can respect culture, and guest speakers exploring “culture” will delve into how good planning can foster sports, music, theater, food or public art.

The speaker series runs April 8 through June 3. All sessions will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at Park and Planning headquarters as part of weekly Planning Board meetings. Some will qualify for continuing education credits for professionals.

On April 8, the series kicks off with a panel featuring five local bloggers: David Alpert (Greater Greater Washington), Cindy Cotte Griffiths (Rockville Central), Dan Reed (Just Up the Pike), Eric Robbins (Thayer Avenue) and Barnaby Zall (Friends of White Flint).

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