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Second Session of 2017 Winter Speaker Series Will Focus on Energizing Public Open Spaces

February 1, 2017

Winter Speaker Series Session 2

Presentations will examine ways of activating open spaces in urban areas through programming and design

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is sponsoring a three-part Winter Speaker Series in 2017 that celebrates 90 years of planning achievements since the M-NCPPC was founded in 1927. Speakers will present strategies for the future that build on past accomplishments in preserving farmland, creating parks and open spaces, and zoning for affordable housing.

The next Winter Speaker Series event, From Parks to Energized Open Spaces, will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 and will focus not only on the importance of preserving parkland, but also on ensuring that it continues to meet the evolving needs of residents. The presentations include new strategies for activating urban parks through planning, programming and design. The event, including question-and-answer discussions, will be held at the Planning Department headquarters auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The 2017 Winter Speakers Series is free and open to the public and planning professionals. Credit for certification maintenance (CM) for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and other professional organizations attending the series is pending.

View the recap video of the first session on January 24, From Farmland to Agritourism.

About the Speakers

Vice President for Operations and Development Joseph Forkin has worked at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation for two decades. This non-profit organization is working to transform the Delaware riverfront in Philadelphia into a vibrant destination with urban parks and mixed-use buildings. Forkin has been instrumental in this effort as a key strategist in planning, zoning and development.

At the Winter Speaker Series session, Forkin will discuss ways of activating urban parks through creative programming and placemaking. Among the most successful examples of these strategies is Spruce Street Harbor Park, which features colorful hammocks, floating gardens and food trucks. The park has been named one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia.

Rachel Newhouse is a landscape architect and planner coordinator with the Montgomery County Department of Parks. Since joining the agency in 1988, Newhouse has planned and designed successful recreational, historic and urban spaces. Among these projects are the Maryland Soccerplex in South Germantown Recreational Park and the Josiah Henson Special Park in North Bethesda. More recently, she collaborated with planners to bring more parks to Bethesda.

At the Winter Speaker Series session, Newhouse will present the Department of Parks’ Energized Public Spaces initiative. This master plan aims to provide more green and open spaces in densely populated areas of the county. One of its goals is to quickly identity the needs and solutions for those new urban parks, and dedicate funding to acquire and develop the parks.