Smart Growth Summit 2024

Early Registration Ends April 2nd

We invite you to help set the agenda for the future of Smart Growth in Maryland.

The state of Maryland has always been a national leader in land use and environmental policy. To preserve its rich, diverse and sensitive natural environment, the state adopted pioneering legislation and tools such as the Agricultural Land Preservation Program, the Critical Areas Act, the Forest Conservation Act, and others. Then in 1997 the state attracted national attention when it passed the Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Act. The five elements of this act established Priority Funding Areas, Rural Legacy Areas, a Brownfield Redevelopment program, a Live Near Your Work program, and a Jobs Creation Tax Credit program. What’s more, the state seemed to have found a way to encourage growth in growth areas, encourage conservation in conservation areas, and do so with incentives instead of regulations and without usurping local land use control.

It has now been more than 25 years since the state launched this pioneering approach. And each successive gubernatorial administration has modified and implemented the program in its own distinctive way. But according to a recent survey administered by the National Center for Smart Growth, planners and public officials in Maryland view these pioneering acts as still important and influential, but only partially successful. Further, many survey respondents felt that smart growth failed to address important contemporary challenges, such as climate change and social equity, and expressed support for establishing new statewide planning visions, revisiting Priority Funding and Rural Legacy Areas, establishing new formulas for transportation spending, and seriously considering statewide zoning reform.

National Center for Smart Growth Survey

Aligning Priorities and Principles

Maryland is projected to grow by 1 million people between 2020 and 2050 – along with new jobs, schools, and businesses, bringing changes to our built environment and to our farms, forests and rural landscapes. In addition, climate change continues to modify the vulnerability and aspect of our communities and landscapes. As we look towards the future, Maryland will seek to address multiple community needs as our circumstances continue to change.

The Moore administration has, in the 2024 legislative session, submitted proposals to facilitate affordable housing development, address childhood poverty and stimulate economic growth. Amendments to the Smart Growth Subcabinet Act originally passed in 2001, have also been proposed by MDP to include issues of equity and resiliency, and evolve from smart toward sustainable growth practices. A new administration and these early steps have created an opportune time to reframe the state’s approach to land use, environmental, and socio-economic development.

Program at a Glance

Morning Itinerary

8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Coffee

9:00 – 9:30 Opening Remarks: Dean Dawn Jourdan, UMD School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and a video message of Governor Wes Moore

9:30 – 10:15 Keynote Address
Calvin Gladney, Smart Growth America

10:15 – 10:35 Setting the Stage: Gerrit Knaap, Professor, National Center for Smart Growth & Rebecca Flora, Secretary, Maryland Dept. of Planning

10:35 – 10:45
10 Minute Break

10:45 – 12:00 Breakout 1 – Current State Challenges


12:00 – 1:30 Lunch with panel of state secretaries moderated by Eric Luedtke, Governors Chief Legislative Officer

1:30 – 1:45 15 minute break

1:45 – 3:00 State and National Panel: What’s happening elsewhere?

Moderator: Kathryn Howell, Director of National Center for Smart Growth
National: David Morley, Senior Research Associate, American Planning Association
Oregon: Rebecca Lewis, Associate Professor, University of Oregon
New Jersey: Donna Rendeiro, Executive Director, NJ State Planning Commission

Afternoon Itinerary

3:00 – 3:15 15 minute break

3:15 – 4:30 Breakout 2 – From Smart to Sustainable and Equitable Growth

4:30 – 4:45 15 minute break

4:45 – 5:20 Plenary + Report outs based on breakout discussions

5:20 – 5:30 Closing Comment

Program Details

The Summit will begin with welcoming remarks from state government and university leaders, followed by a keynote address on the history, evolution, and future of smart growth. The Summit will also include a panel of experts from across the nation who will share how other states have continued to advance their approach to smarter, more equitable and sustainable growth. The workhorse of the Summit, however, will be two sets of breakout sessions on subjects that include Placemaking, Sustainable Transportation, Housing for All, Climate Success, Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources, and Equity and Opportunity. The morning breakouts, led by state cabinet secretaries, will include presentations from state and local government officials, and civic stakeholders from across the state who will present their views on what is working well, what challenges remain, and what new directions should now be pursued. While much of this discussion will focus on the role of the state, it is clear that equitable and sustainable development will require coordinated actions by state, local, and private organizations.

The afternoon breakouts, led by trained facilitators, will engage all attendees in conversations about the future of smart growth in Maryland. More specifically, the afternoon breakout sessions will be structured to produce a list of specific tasks, actions, and legislative initiatives designed to move the state of Maryland to a more sustainable and equitable approach to smart growth. These will be reported out and discussed in the final plenary session and ultimately shared with the Moore administration and general public.

Breakout Sessions


Moderator: Rebecca Flora, Secretary, Maryland Department of Planning


Sustainable Transportation

Moderator: Joe McAndrew, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation


Housing for All

Moderator: Jake Day, Secretary, Department of Housing and Community Development


Climate Success

Moderator: Serena McIlwain, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment


Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources

Moderator: Sasha Land, Program Director, Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Equity and Opportunity

Moderator: Kevin Anderson, Secretary, Department of Commerce


Early Registration Ends April 2nd

Our Partners

Supporting Organizations

Event Planning Team

Brian O’Malley – President and CEO at Central Maryland Transportation Alliance

Chuck Boyd – Assistant Secretary for Planning Services, Maryland Department of Planning

Gerrit J. Knaap – Professor, National Center for Smart Growth

Jane Lyons-Raeder – Housing Programs Manager at City of Rockville

Jason Dubow – Manager, Resource Conservation & Management

Jill Lemke – Infrastructure and Development Manager, Maryland Department of Planning

Kristin R. Fleckenstein

Kevin L. Small

Lindsey Mendelson

Nick Finio

Jenny Jarkowski

Sarah Abel

Steve Brigham