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Winter 2014 Planning Department Speakers Series

Focus: Housing

Our third season of speakers have presented and the series has concluded. The Planning Department’s Winter Speakers Series focused on housing. It was an opportunity for residents, business owners, planners, elected officials and community leaders to learn more about national and regional trends pertaining to housing.

Thursday, April 10, 6 p.m.
John Welsh, VP Multifamily Group, AHC Inc.

David Cristeal, Housing Director, Arlington County

About the speakers:
John M. Welsh is the Vice President of the Multifamily Group of AHC Inc. He is responsible for all project development and acquisitions of multifamily housing. During his tenure, AHC has acquired more than 3,500 multifamily units in Arlington, Baltimore, and southern Virginia. Welsh supervises a team of project managers responsible for project development. Welsh is a former  project manager at Hope Housing in Washington, D.C. (1995-1998) where he identified properties for development, secured financing, coordinated the work of development team members and managed construction. He holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning with a concentration in housing policy from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Villanova University. He is also a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the District of Columbia, and past secretary of the D.C. Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development. Welsh is married, and father of one and is a member of several boards and civic volunteer. AHC provides quality homes for low- and moderate-income families, developing 39 properties with over 5,300 affordable apartments since 1975. AHC also offers services for residents and homeownership opportunities.

David Cristeal has over 25 years of affordable housing, community development and organizing experience. Coming to Arlington after a dozen years in Raleigh, NC, he served as Arlington County’s Housing Development Supervisor since 2004, where he had direct involvement in the preservation and creation of nearly 2,500 affordable housing units. The majority of these units are along or near Arlington’s high-density transportation corridors. He took a leadership role in the County’s planning efforts to preserve or create affordable housing.  The most recent effort is the adopted Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan.  The Plan’s primary goal is to preserve all 6,200 of the market rate affordable units over the next 30 years.  In June, 2013, David was appointed as the County’s Housing Director, overseeing its Division that is responsible for affordable housing preservation and creation, community development and housing services. David received his Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

News Release

Missed the presentation? We have it all here:


February 27, 2014
Innovative Housing Efforts in the City of Alexandria

Featuring: Mildrilyn Davis, Director of Housing, City of Alexandria and Helen McIlvaine, Deputy Director of Housing, City of Alexandria

The City of Alexandria has had success with a number of innovative housing efforts over the past decade, including redevelopment of numerous blocks of public housing into mixed income communities and co-location of affordable housing with new public buildings. In addition, the City has recently approved a new Housing Plan that offers creative ideas for the future. Ms. Davis and Ms. McIlvaine will share a range of best practices from Alexandria.

The sessions are free and open to the public and there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. This event is hosted in partnership with APA National Capital Area Chapter.

About the speakers:
Mildrilyn Stephens Davis has been the Director of the Alexandria Office of Housing since 1991. She joined the department as a Housing Analyst in 1982, and served as its Program Administration Division Chief from 1983 until her appointment as Director. Prior to her employment with the City of Alexandria, she spent four years as a research analyst for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Policy Development and Research. Mildrilyn was a driving force in the formation of the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC), Alexandria's local non-profit housing organization, and in the development of the City's recently-adopted Housing Master Plan.

Helen McIlvaine is the Deputy Director of the Office of Housing for the City of Alexandria. She works primarily with external private and nonprofit development partners to structure and finance projects that include affordable housing. She is also Housing's liaison to recent City small area planning processes that involve affordable housing. Before joining Alexandria's Office of Housing in 2006, she was director of development for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (HFHNV), and executive director of Catholics for Housing (CFH). Prior to her transition to nonprofit housing development, Helen was a practicing attorney.

Missed the presentation? We have it all here:


January 30, 2014
A Conversation About the Housing Needs of Montgomery County's Current and Future Residents

Featuring Lisa Sturtevant, Executive Director, Center for Housing Policy and Vice President, National Housing Conference

As the region grows, the connections between housing and transportation become more critical. Sturtevant will explore how housing and transportation are two sides of the same coin, the land and property cost impacts of transit, and some tools to preserve and create affordable housing.

“Housing is one of the most critical issues the County is facing, and it’s important for us to look at the best practices nationally and in our region,” said Gwen Wright, Montgomery Planning Director, “and this speakers series will help to continue the dialogue on how to solve housing issues in the County.”

About the speaker:
Lisa A. Sturtevant's primary areas of research include housing, migration, demographics and regional economic development. Dr. Sturtevant’s most recent research includes housing demand in the Richmond and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, generational perspectives on residential mobility and migration, and strategies for preserving affordable housing near transit.

Missed the presentation? We have it all here:

Past Series 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)

Last updated: April 17, 2014

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