We’re unveiling a new logo today for the Maryland Department of Planning. It’s the first change in the agency’s logo in about a dozen years. It was created by the agency’s graphic designer Mark Praetorius. We hope you like it. More
September 13, 2012
June 11, 2012
Bernie Fowler, the former Calvert County commissioner and Maryland state senator, told his father as a young man that he had no desire to go into politics or to sell whiskey for a living. He did the former, didn’t do the latter. He also didn’t say he ever wanted to go into public relations, but you had to marvel at his ability as a pitchman Sunday when he attracted 250 people in mid-90 degree weather to St. Leonard to pay tribute to a … river. More
May 8, 2012
I used to write about the Internet and telecommunications for a living, but urban planning frequently seems even tougher to describe. I’m not sure why. I often felt that the tech community never figured out that acronyms were meant to make things easier to remember, not harder. RSS feeds? JPEGs? VOIP? DSL? Really? Planners don’t traffic in such odd terminology, but the field can still seem hard to convey. It’s rooted in data and science and seeks to analyze large-scale cause and effect over a long span. That’s why I was excited when a colleague forwarded me a link to Saga City, a video produced by a Quebec firm called Vivre en Ville. It depicts — in cartoon form, of all things — how suburban sprawl occurs, why it hastens climate change and why planning is crucial to confront that challenge.
April 27, 2012
More than 1,300 folks have “played” GamePlanMaryland since we launched it last December. It’s a sim game to help communicate the trade-offs in more sustainable land-use. If you want generous parking areas, for example, you’re likely to face greater pollution from the runoff from all the impervious surface. And it’s hard to have both quieter neighborhoods and better transit access simultaneously, since public transit is prohibitively expensive when people are spread out. With the help of the design firm MetroQuest, we wanted to show the “guns versus butter” theory of environmental planning: To gain something, you probably have to give up something. We launched the app the week that Governor O’Malley accepted “PlanMaryland” as the first growth plan for the state of Maryland toward the end of last year. We have visited every county in the state since then to work with local governments on mapping for PlanMaryland. We are also working with other state agencies so they can align their approach toward smarter growth during the coming year.
April 24, 2012
Our webmaster Cindy, with help from a cast of folks here, built a great resource page chronicling the La Plata tornado, which occurred 10 years ago this week, and the town’s successful recovery. There’s a lot to learn from a planning perspective. And toggling between the aftermath and post-rebuilding imagery is just plain fascinating.