Skip to content

urban design

Apr 21 11

Creating Effective Urban Design Frameworks the Subject of April 28 Planning Department Speaker Series Event

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County’s master plans set the stage for redevelopment in strategic places. To help inform master plans underway for various Montgomery County communities, the Planning Department is hosting an urban design expert from Portland with extensive experience in creating frameworks that are fundamental to successful redevelopment.

Arun Jain created the Urban Design Framework for Central Portland, an analysis of the city’s stock of civic spaces and redevelopable properties. The framework provides a basis for planners and city officials to make informed choices for preserving, enhancing or creating great places in the central city. The framework specifies where exceptional development would advance city priorities over the next 25 years by focusing public resources and instilling confidence in private development to build quality projects.

Portland, Oregon is noteworthy for its commitment to transit and successful urban form. Jain’s presentation will provide an in-depth look at the urban design thinking behind some of Portland’s redevelopment initiatives, including the downtown transit mall and the development of the Pearl District, a new downtown neighborhood.

Jain’s work over the past 25 years has focused on how the design of the built environment can improve urban quality of life. When done well, design frameworks can be effective tools for urban and urbanizing areas to prioritize investments in public infrastructure and encourage private development to leverage the most public good. 

Jain has more than 25 years of international experience in practice and academia. He was Portland’s chief urban designer for six years. As a consultant, Jain works across a wide range of scales, geographies and cultural landscapes around the world. From national-level decision-making tools to new towns to main streets, his approach considers context and integration to foster uniqueness and counter uncertainty.

Jain has authored several publications and contributed to books and has spoken at more than 70 major conferences, seminars, workshops and universities around the world. He is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Oregon’s urban architecture program in Portland.

Trained as an architect, Jain holds two masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Design Program. He was awarded the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce’s Newsmaker Award for 2009.

Continuing education credits for planners (AICP credits) are pending. 

The presentations are part of the Planning Department’s Celebrating MoCo speaker series – free, informative sessions about ways to forge great communities. This session is co-sponsored by the Silver Spring Regional Center.

Montgomery County Planning Department, featuring Portland urban designer Arun Jain

Urban Design Framework for Central Portland, part of the Celebrating MoCo Speaker Series

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, 2011

Silver Spring Regional Center (Spring Room)
One Veterans Plaza (corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street)
Silver Spring

#  #  #

Nov 30 09

The Art of Infill: Creative Design Solutions to Building in Montgomery County’s Populous Areas

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Much of the recent development in Montgomery County has taken the form of urban infill, with growth occurring in existing commercial areas or neighborhoods. To gain another perspective on how to make infill work in Montgomery County, the Planning Board has invited a Baltimore urban design planner to present on Thursday, December 3 as part of its 2009 Growing Smarter Speaker Series.

Matt D’Amico, a Baltimore-based planner and urban designer with over 20 years experience preparing master plans and urban design guidelines, will provide an overview of successful development projects. His examples range from commercial to residential development, from large to small, with an emphasis on good urban design.

The projects on which D’Amico has worked – a 6 million square foot mixed-use development in Baltimore; a master plan for 10 million square feet of mixed use in Columbia; a downtown plan for Providence, Rhode Island; and a master plan to transform historic and abandoned tobacco warehouses in Winston Salem into a 3 million square-foot mixed-use district – provide solutions to some of the same challenges facing Montgomery County. Planners and the Planning Board have grappled with how to guide new infill development so that it supports existing uses, blends with adjacent building types, remains compatible with area density, and fits well within street patterns and traffic circulation.

D’Amico, principal and lead planner/urban designer with Design Collective, will amplify his presentation with examples that illustrate planning and design strategies that balance the needs of residents with policy objectives and developer goals.

In addition to writing plans, D’Amico has run public design charrettes and other participatory approaches to involve residents. In fact, he led week-long design charrettes for both the Shady Grove and Twinbrook master plans – both approved in the last few years – and is credited with engaging area residents and other stakeholders to determine what was most important in their communities.

D’Amico is the last of a series of monthly speakers to present before the Board this year. Continuing education credits have been approved for AICP members.

Montgomery County Planning Board

Matt D’Amico presenting “Infill Development that Works”

7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 3

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