2014 Brownbag Webinar Series

Jim Cohen presents during a live webinar broadcast on December 4, 2013.

The National Center for Smart Growth and the University of Maryland Urban Studies and Planning Program present the 2014 Brownbag Webinar Series.


2014 Brownbag Webinars


December 3 - Warrington, Pennsylvania: A Green Infrastructure Approach to Leveraging Local Priorities
In 2012, the citizens of Warrington Township passed an Open Space Referendum, authorizing the Board of Supervisors to borrow up to $3 million over 20 years to purchase and protect open space. While the commitment to invest $3 million to acquire and improve public lands, trails, parks, and historic sites is significant, the Township recognized that to accomplish their local open space priorities would require stretching these dollars as far as possible. In this webinar, Jennifer Cotting and Monica Billig explain how the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center (EFC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked together with the Township to inform local investment decision-making. EPA provided resource mapping to help the community identify and prioritize parcels based on their ecological and environmental benefits, and the EFC identified a number of overlapping local priorities, potential partnership opportunities, and additional funding programs the Township could leverage. Learn how using a green infrastructure approach to resource management will enable this community to amplify the impact of their financial commitment to open space preservation.More...

November 5 - Housing the Region’s Future Workforce
A region’s economic growth potential depends critically on the availability of a sufficient supply of housing for workers—in the right places, of the right types and at the right prices and rents. Lisa Sturtevant presents results from a study of employment-driven housing demand in the Washington DC metro area (for the 2012-2032 period) and will discuss the relationships among job growth, housing planning, and transportation investment. More...

October 8 - Do Rail Transit Stations Encourage Neighborhood Retail Activity?
Over the past 20 years, California has made substantial investments in intra-metropolitan passenger rail infrastructure, expanding existing systems and building new ones. According to advocates of New Urbanism, such investment should encourage the growth of mixed-use transit-oriented development, defined as a high-density mix of residential and commercial uses within walking distance of rail stations. Little research to date has examined whether rail investment stimulates retail activity, which is a key component of mixed-use development. More...

September 17 - Modeling the Effect of Downzoning on Spatial Residential Development Patterns in Baltimore County: A Pioneer in Smart Growth
David Newburn will discuss the effect of downzoning policy on the rate of residential development and density using spatially explicit panel data of subdivisions in Baltimore County, Maryland. A difference-in-differences (DID) modeling approach is used to identify the heterogeneous effect of downzoning, including subdivision data in treated areas (agricultural zoning) and control areas (residential zoning) during periods both before and after policy adoption in 1976. He will also briefly preview results from ongoing projects regarding the effects of other smart growth policies (septic law, APFOs, Forest Conservation Act) on residential development patterns in the Baltimore metropolitan region. More…

September 10 - Can you afford your travel after moving to this new home? Integrating land use and transportation for analyzing planning policies
Traditionally, land use and transportation are treated as two separate fields of planning. However, land use and transportation closely interact with each other. Increasing congestion may make certain parts of a region less attractive to live and might trigger households to move. The new location of households in turn will affect travel demand. Rising transportation costs may force some households to relocate closer to their work location. More...

April 23 - Planning the Home Front: How the Lessons of World War II Apply to Today
The American mobilization for World War II is famed for its industrial production; less well known is that it was also one of the greatest urban planning challenges that the United States has ever faced. Although Americans tend to think of World War II as a time of national unity, mobilization had a fractious side. Interest groups competed for federal attention, frequent — sometimes violent — protests interrupted mobilization plans, and seemingly local urban planning controversies could blow up into investigations by the U.S. Senate. More...

April 16 - Mainstreaming the Asian Mall: Regulating Asian American Space in the Silicon Valley Suburbia
Asian malls are an increasingly popular form of shopping centers within Silicon Valley and other centers of Asian American suburban life. In an age of vast demographic shift in suburbia’s population, this presentation asks what these malls reveal about the ways in which Asian Americans, especially immigrants, are making home and place in suburbia and their struggles to do so. In a case study of one Silicon Valley suburb faced with both rapid demographic change and development, the presentation highlights Asian malls as both critical community and cultural spaces that defy many of the negative stereotypes typically associated with suburban shopping centers as well as contested social spaces. The presentation will highlight these malls’ valuable roles in meeting Asian American suburbanites’ practical needs of everyday life and fostering important social connections, their sense of place, community, and connection to the larger Asian diaspora. But it will also show how non-Asian American residents, city officials, and planners have sometimes stirred debates over their development that have resulted in new planning and design policies regulating them. These malls and their politics highlight how suburbia’s built environment is changing to meet the demands of its increasingly diverse residents, and at the same time, how such changes often challenge and are challenged by suburbia’s dominant spatial norms and standards. Asian malls thus raise important questions about the roles of planning, design, and public policy in responding to the needs of an increasingly diverse suburban public and regulating spaces of and expressions of difference in the urban landscape.

April 9 - The Great So-What of Gentrification: Preserving Housing and Culture in Washington, DC
The first decade of the 21st Century was a perfect storm effect on formerly disinvested neighborhoods across the country. Upwardly mobile movers to the city during the late 1990s have stayed and begun to raise their children – even as young college graduates arrive in record numbers. All of this happened in the context of a booming housing market. In Washington, DC this trend is magnified, with the city gaining 13,000 new residents annually since 2010. As a result, changes in the social, as well as built environments of DC neighborhoods have meant that long term residents struggle to retain a physical and social presence in their communities. In the changing northwest neighborhood of Columbia Heights, the District, nonprofit advocates and community residents have taken steps to mitigate for the effects of neighborhood change on long term residents. This presentation will discuss the ways in which policy, organizing, and collective action have shifted the traditional model of neighborhood change.

March 12 - A New Approach in GIS Bikeshed Analysis with Consideration of Topography, Street Connectivity, and Energy Consumption
In recent years, bike planning has garnered attention from planners and the public as a sustainable mode of transportation and as a means to exercise and reduce health risks. In addition, following the success of bike-share programs in cities in Paris and Lyon, France, and Montreal, Canada, several US cities initiated similar programs. With this background, GIS has been applied to conduct a spatial analysis and produce heat maps of bike-travel demand and suitable areas for bike-sharing program. Such studies include a variety of factors, such as demographics of residents, land use, street types, and available bike facilities and transit services. There have been few studies, however, that take into account topography and street connectivity in an analysis. More...

February 5 - The Back-to-the-City Movement and Processes of Political and Cultural Displacement
While certain U.S. cities are still depopulating, others have seen a reversal of aggregate out-migration patterns. This phenomenon has been termed the back-to-the-city movement and it has been associated with neighborhood redevelopment. Some urban scholars, political figures and real estate boosters celebrate this urban population influx, as it will likely increase property values and broaden municipal tax bases; however, we know little about the social costs associated with the back-to-the-city movement. Dr. Hyra has investigated the consequences of the back-to-the-city movement through a three-year (2009-2012) ethnographic case study of the revitalization of Washington, DC’s Shaw/U Street neighborhood. The redevelopment of this iconic African-American neighborhood is associated with the city’s 5.2 percent population increase, which occurred between 2000 and 2010, mainly among whites. While some residential displacement has occurred, certain affordable housing policies help to keep a sizable proportion of long-term, low-income residents in place as their neighborhood redevelops. This presentation will highlight that neighborhood revitalization can have important political and cultural implications often overlooked by the urban planning field.

2013 Brownbag Webinar Series

The NCSG hosted nine webinars in 2013.  You can find more info on all of these presentations, and recordings of some, through the link above.