PRESTO: Plan for Regional Sustainability Tomorrow


Project Overview
PRESTO Reports
Related Resources

Project Overview

The multi-year goal for this project is to develop, disseminate, and promote the implementation of a sustainable development strategy for the Baltimore-Washington region.  Well known examples of similar efforts include privately financed and promoted plans such as the Burnham plan for Chicago, the Wallace-McHarg plan for the Valleys, and the series of plans for greater metropolitan New York prepared by the Regional Planning Association. These plans or strategies were not prepared for or adopted by any public agency but were highly influential for decades after they were released.

Our first-year goal for the project is to stimulate a science-based conversation about sustainability in this region and to develop one or more baseline scenarios.  We will stimulate the dialog by considering the key driving forces that will shape the future of the region and by deploying a highly developed set of data and analytic tools to develop baseline scenarios.

The specific objectives of the exercise are as follows:

Year 1

  • Identify the key driving forces that will shape the future sustainability of the region.
  • Develop one or more base line scenarios.
  • Demonstrate quantitatively and qualitatively the effects on regional sustainability of growth continuing in its current form.

Future years

  • Develop alternative, more sustainable scenarios.
  • Identify policy decisions that will lead to a more sustainable future.
  • Demonstrate quantitatively and qualitatively the effects of growth occurring in a more sustainable fashion.
  • Stimulate an informed public dialog on sustainability.
  • Promote the adoption of policies that lead to more sustainable futures.



The Town Creek Foundation

The Town Creek Foundation was established in 1981 by Edmund “Ted” Stanley, a retired printing industry executive. They support research and stakeholder engagement processes to develop strategies for confronting Maryland’s most important environmental challenges. They fund organizing and advocacy campaigns to build public support for stronger environmental policies and support administrative advocacy and litigation to reduce pollution and hold polluters accountable. Through all of this they are helping to build a bigger, stronger, and more diverse base of environmentally engaged Marylanders.

In the Fall of 2010 the Town Creek Foundation Board of Trustees decided to ‘sunset’ the foundation over a ten year period. With particular respect to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and transitioning Maryland to a low carbon economy, they believe that the urgency of the challenges and the promise of the opportunities is such as to warrant a full commitment. Accordingly, the Town Creek Foundation chose to invest in the Plan for Regional Sustainability Tomorrow in order to create a vision of sustainability as an organizational legacy.


Outside Partners 

Peter Bishop
Facilitator and Former Director of the University of Houston Graduate Program in Foresight
Dr. Bishop is a retired Associate Professor of Strategic Foresight and Director of the graduate program in Foresight at the University of Houston. He also facilitates groups in developing scenarios, visions, and strategic plans for the future. Dr. Bishop is a founding Board member of the Association of Professional Futurists and President of his own firm, Strategic Foresight and Development, that offers training and facilitation to businesses and government agencies.
Tim Welch
Assistant Director, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Georgia Tech
Dr. Welch is an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. An expert in the field of transportation & land use policy, planning & forecasting and freight, he holds graduate degrees in law and urban planning. Welch is widely published, with a recent focus on issues related to transportation behavior, connectivity, equity and environment. Tim received his PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of Maryland.
Peter Claggett
Research Geographer, Chesapeake Bay Program: US Geological Survey
Peter is a Research Geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Eastern Geographic Science Center and has worked at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) since 2002. Peter leads the Land Data Team at the CBPO which conducts research on land change characterization, analysis, and modeling in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Peter led the development of the Chesapeake Bay Land Change Model and urban land use data for use in the Phase 5.x watershed models.

The Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee meets every two to three months on order to advise the direction of the PRESTO project. The committee includes technical experts in watersheds, energy, demographics, transportation, economics, and neighborhood development. The members of the committee inform the teams understanding of the forces driving the region, the enhancement of NCSG models for the purpose of measuring sustainability, and the crafting of future scenarios.

Antonia Busalacchi
Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland
Arjun Mukhijani
President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Chris Nedler
Energy analyst, journalist, and investor
Christine Conn
Director, Strategic Land Planning at Office for a Sustainable Future with Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Don Boesch
Professor of Marine Science and President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Jeffrey F. Werling
Executive Director, INFORUM
John Papagni
Program Officer, Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, DHCD
Kevin Lucas
Division Director of Policy, Planning & Analysis, Maryland Energy Administration
Margaret A. Palmer
Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland and Director, National Socio-environmental
Mark Goldstein
Demographic and Socioeconomic Projections Unit, MDP
Marty Baker
Manager of Community Planning, Maryland Department of Transportation
Mary Kendell
Program Officer, Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, DHCD
Paul Desjardin
Director of Department of Community Planning and Services (CPS), WashCOG
Sean Williams
Program Manager, Environmental Finance Center
Seema Iyer
Associate Director, Jacob France Institute
Ted Cochin
Environmental Protection Specialist, Smart Growth Program, EPA
Todd Lang
Director, Transportation Division, Baltimore Metropolitan Council 


Team Leads

Gerrit Knaap, Executive Director, NCSG
Uri Avin, Director, Planning & Design Center Director, NCSG

Additional Team Members

Frederick Ducca, Transportation Planning Research Group Director, NCSG
Sevgi Erdogen, Research Associate, NCSG
Rolf Moekel, Faculty Research Associate, NCSG
Daniel Engelberg, Research Assistant, NCSG

PRESTO Reports

Related Resources