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Planning Department Speaker Series

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The Planning Department's speaker series focuses on planning and how we can connect the dots between health, knowledge, culture, food, energy, ecology, economy, resources and infrastructure — the elements of sustainability. Don't miss these free, informative, occasional sessions about ways to forge great communities. Continuing education credits available for planning professionals for selected presentations. All presentations are held at Park and Planning Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring.

Past Sessions

Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America (April 9, 2013)
Bicycling is booming. As more people realize the health and environmental benefits, time and cost savings, and sheer pleasure of cycling, they are taking advantage of better bike lanes and bike-sharing programs. Ralph Buehler, Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs& Planning at Virginia Tech, offered a guide to this cycling renaissance. He reported on cycling trends and policies in North American, European, and Australian cities. Video icon Watch | View presentation (9 MB)

From Plan to Reality: How Everyone Benefits (February 26, 2013)
How do plans become reality? Eileen Fogarty, former planning director in Santa Monica, Calif., and Alexandria, Va., focused on the transition from concepts to real change. In her previous jobs, Fogarty oversaw plans that resulted in thriving urban transit centers. The result: multiple transportation options in established neighborhoods that enhance, not detract, from the community's quality of life. In Alexandria, Fogarty led the development of Eisenhower East, a 238-acre, 17-million-square- foot urban town center within walking distance of two Metro stations. In Santa Cruz, she managed the rebuilding of the town after the major earthquake of 1989. Video icon Watch

Planning for Heritage Tourism: The Byways Plan for Passaic County, N.J. (February 20, 2013)
Michael La Place, planning director of Passaic County, N.J., spoke about how tourism-oriented, well-executed urban design can boost economic development and help build community identity. Video icon Watch

Human Transit: A mobility-based approach to transit decisions (February 7, 2012)
Jarrett Walker, 20-year international consultant on public transit planning and policy and author addressed network design and trying to maximize the usefulness and reach of quality transit service. Walker emphasized how to create systems that are attractive because they fit the community's needs. Walker's recently published book, Human Transit, addresses how public transit can address a range of community problems, from traffic congestion to economic development. Video icon Watch

Complete Streets - Redefining Expectations for Our Public Investment (October 20, 2011)
Peg Staeheli, ASLA, LEED AP, president of SvR Design Company, a Seattle-based civil engineering and landscape architecture firm, is an expert in Complete Streets. Staeheli discussed how to transform public rights-of-way so they can achieve their full potential: supporting urban systems to deliver utilities, moving people, managing stormwater and supporting trees. Highlights included state-of-the-art approaches, lessons learned, and future directions for the use of innovative approaches for land planning and site design. Video icon Watch

Creating Effective Urban Design Frameworks (May, 2011)
Arun Jain created the Urban Design Framework for Central Portland based on an analysis of the city's urban, social, environmental and physical infrastructure. The design framework specifies where exceptional development would advance city priorities. Jain's presentation highlighted his work over the past 25 years on how the design of the built environment can improve urban quality of life.

Infill Done Right: The Design, Economics and Regulations for Redeveloping Challenging Urban Spaces (April 13, 2011)
Architect Deni Poletti has worked extensively to design mid- and high-rise residential and mixed-use buildings for challenging infill sites in Toronto and the Middle East. With his firm, CORE Architects, Poletti integrates creative solutions within narrow profit margins, developing designs that truly work in small spaces. Poletti's presentation covered construction, materials, interior layouts and exteriors of narrow floorplate buildings. With little new land available in our region for development, most future growth will occur as infill, and Poletti's firm provides excellent examples of new ways development could occur in the Washington, D.C., region. Video icon Watch

The Living Building Challenge: Moving Toward Regenerative Buildings and Communities (January 13, 2011)
Experts on sustainable architecture discussed movements that are gaining support among forward-thinking planners and architects worldwide. Both groups have established professional training programs to help transform their ideals into reality. Learn how these building models work toward slowing climate change by reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. The session previewed the goals and principles of the DC 2030 and Living Building challenges for planners, developers, home builders and renovators – anyone interested in advancing sustainability.

"20 Images about the Future: Celebrating Diversity in MoCo" (Pecha Kucha Contest) (October 7, 2010)

Date of last update: April 11, 2013