2016 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 2016 Brownbag Webinar Series.
All webinars will be broadcast live from the National Center for Smart Growth office in Preinkert Field House at the University of Maryland in College Park.  Please join us in person, or visit this page to access the webinar.  Webinar recordings will be posted online following the conclusion of the presentation.


Next Webinar: October 26th - Designing Communities to Promote Health: Past, Present and Future By Andrew L. Dannenberg


A century ago, the fields of urban planning and public health were closely associated with zoning and other approaches were used to separate residential and industrial areas to improve the quality of life for community inhabitants. Gradually other factors including the growth of automobile used, changing economics, and racial segregation played stronger roles in community design. In recent decades, planners and public health professionals have been discovering their common interests. Communities have been evolving to include health promoting designs. This presentation will explore how good design can promote health and equity, and how policies and tools such as complete streets, health impact assessment, and LEED-ND can advance public health goals and, as a co-benefit, help combat climate change. The training of professionals with skills in both urban planning and public health as well as opportunities and challenges faced by those working in these fields will also be explored.

WHERE:Preinkert Field House - Conference Room 1112V, University of Maryland, College Park

WHEN: October 26th 12:00 - 1:00 PM


Upcoming Webinars


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Previous Webinars 



October 3rd 

Active Transportation Among Washington, DC Area Children
Parental perceptions of the built environment are important to consider when assessing the decline in youth active transportation behavior. The objective of the Built Environment and Active Play Study was to assess parental perceptions of home neighborhood built environment variables on youth active transportation behaviors among children in the Washington DC metropolitan area. To explore these perceptions, a questionnaire was mailed to 2000 parents of children aged 7-12 within the metro area. Using multivariate regression analysis we found significantly lower odds of children engaging in walking when parents did not believe that there were crosswalks and signals on busy streets. We also found higher odds of children taking public transportation when parents did not perceive the route to be simple for the children to walk. Based on these findings we conclude that parental perceptions of the built environment can significantly predict the extent to which youth engage in walking and use public transportation. 

April 22nd 

Capturing the Value of Crowd Sourcing

Since the mid-1980s the advances in geospatial technologies and information and decision-support systems have offered planners and other professionals dealing with spatially manifested phenomena new tools for storing, analyzing and visualizing information. However, the pace of technological progress has been faster than our ability to fully explore, adapt and exploit the technologies and tools to fully and meaningfully contribute to practice and policy. As we move from geographic information systems (GIS) and WebGIS, to spatial data infrastructures (SDI) and geoportals, and to user-generated content enabled by Web 2.0, our informational capacities are ever expanding, albeit with very little time allowed to understand the impact. Like their predecessors, the recent developments in volunteered geographic information (VGI) and crowd-sourcing facilities have opened up new possibilities. They promise to enable a further step into democratization of data-dependent processes and have blurred the boundary between data users and data producers to create a new hybrid of data produsers. This presentation explores two applications of crowd-sourcing: 1. in planning for underutilized inner city properties (Dublin, Ireland); and 2. in assessing the situation for earthquake emergency response (Bam, Iran). The work is focused on evaluating the contribution of data generated through crowd-sourcing to better understanding of the local issues and to guiding further actions.

2015 Brownbag Webinar Series
2014 Brownbag Webinar Series
2013 Brownbag Webinar Series