Strategies for planning as the Purple Line approaches Takoma/Langley Crossroads: A Master’s studio proposal

What is the best path forward for Takoma/Langley Crossroads as the opening of the Purple Line approaches? The community, once a post-war suburb, is home to a variety of immigrant populations who could greatly benefit from the opening of the Purple Line. However, incomplete pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure and non-existent open-space amenities make the area less than desirable to walk through. Moreover, anticipated shocks to housing and retail space prices brought on by the Purple Line threaten to displace the existing population and drive out immigrant-owned small businesses. This report, prepared by students in the Master of Community Planning Program, provides strategies for transportation, zoning policy, and community organizing to ensure that the Purple Line benefits the people who need it most.
This report was prepared as part of the requirements for the Master of Community Planning Program in The School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, The University of Maryland College Park. This Community Planning Studio (UMD 708) was held during the Fall 2018 Semester and was led by Adjunct Faculty Katrina Durbak and Robert Duffy, FAICP.
Read the full Report
Image: ‘Symbiosis’ – Mural by Krsko Creative Group sponsored by the City of Takoma Park
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Despite Federal grant, regional equity planning strategies falter in Baltimore

NCSG presents an analysis of Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants (SCRPGs) in Baltimore. In an article for the Journal of Urban Affairs, NCSG researchers, led by Associate Director Nick Finio, examine the implementation and success of the grants in Baltimore on 4 aspects of regional equity planning: community engagement, regional collaboration, regional housing policy, and the use of opportunity and equity-related data. The authors find that despite some progress on regional housing issues, plan implementation has largely not occurred due to a lack of commitment to and coordination around implementation. They suggest that without such commitments, large federal grants have only limited success in pushing regional equity planning forward.


NCSG researchers are participant activist scholars in the SCRPG planning process in Baltimore, Maryland. NCSG co-authors of this article include Associate Director Nick Finio, Director of Community Development Willow Lung-Amam, Director Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Research Associate Casey Dawkins, and Affiliate Researcher Elijah Knaap.
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Three reasons why NOT to build a dog park in Columbia Heights

UPDATE: DC Council made their $2.1 million bid for the lot in support of the dog park in early February. The lot is on the open market until the end of the month. According to an article in The Washington Post, DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) is not optimistic that the city will win the bid.
We all love our furry friends, but prioritizing a dog park in Columbia Heights over much-needed housing may be unethical. In an article for Greater Greater Washington Nick Finio, an NCSG Faculty Research Assistant, and Alex Baca, Engagement Director at Coalition for Smarter Growth, look at what we’re missing when we prioritize pets over people. The authors conclude that a luxury good (such as a dog park) is not worth the effect of driving house prices even higher, especially when DC taxpayers would ultimately be paying for the $2.1 million parcel of land.
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