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Community Planning

The Montgomery County, Maryland Experience

As Montgomery County continues to attract an increasingly diverse, technologically savvy, well-educated population, the Planning Department focuses its skills and talents to bring high-quality design in both form and function to all areas, from central business districts to rural villages and improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations.

Community Planning great communities are created by developingmaster plans, reviewing applications for developmentand analyzing information to help public officials plan the future. Multi-disciplinary geographic teams with regulatory as well as community planning functions lead to better integration and more balanced decision-making. Staff also provide recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the general public.

The Environment sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint contribute to healthier communities by

o   assisting property owners to improve or develop their properties

o   analyzing natural resources for community planning

o   reviewing development applications, and

o   participating in efforts to promote environmental sustainability for residents and visitors.

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Sustainable communities are created by addressing resource protection, climate change, air quality, water quality and availability, human health and well-being.

Historic Preservation is supported by providing identification, designation, and regulation of historic sites in Montgomery County.  Staff maintains an archive and library of documentation on historic resources and provides preservation outreach and guidance on best-practices to the public.

Transportation Planning entails detailed analyses of transportation issues and improvements needed to support expected growth during master plan preparation as well as planned improvements. A biennial Mobility Assessment report plays an integral role in developing recommendations for growth policies matching transport services with new development.

Urban Designers establish guidelines, blend architecture, landscape architecture, and environmental stewardship, resulting in:

o   Street Character improving the character of the street system, promoting walking, providing easy access to transit, creating inviting connections to services

o   Open Spaces establishing open space systems designed to serve people of all ages and needs, providing a variety of urban spaces – plazas, urban parks and town commons – connected by a system of greenways and sidewalks

o   Building Form and Character fostering the design of buildings that shape public streets and open spaces, density, building heights, setbacks from the curb, and parking locations

o   Landmarks and Gateways preserving and highlighting the elements that make a community unique and increasing access to historic resources.

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Milan Italy

Art Architecture Cuisine Design Fashion and Shopping

Milan is located between the Po River, the Alps and Italian lakes region. The concentric layout of the city center has been influenced by the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony of Mediolanum. Following the edict of Milan in 313 A.D., several basilicas were built by the city gates, still standing and refurbished over the centuries. The cathedral was built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth largest in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. In the 15th century, an old fortress was enlarged and embellished to become the Castello Sforzesco, the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park.

Economy the Milan metro area generates approximately 9% of the national GDP and is home to more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including many media and advertising agencies. Milan is a major world fashion center – 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets – and manufacturing center. Other important products made here include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Other key sectors in the city’s economy are advanced research in health and biotechnologies, engineering, banking and finance.

Museums and Art Galleries the Brera Portrait Gallery holds one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. The Sforza Castle hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions, especially statues, ancient arms and furniture. Leonardo Da Vinci worked here from 1482 until 1499 and was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks and the Last Supper. Milan was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, hosting numerous artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio. In the 20th century, the city was the epicenter of the Futurist artistic movement. The Museo del Novecento is a 20th Century art gallery with sections dedicated to Futurism, Spatialism and Poor Art.

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Music Milan is a major national and international center of the performing arts, most notably opera. La Scala is considered one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, hosting the premieres of numerous operas since the mid19th century. Other major theatres in Milan include the Arcimboldi and the Lirico.The city also has a renowned symphony orchestra, conservatory and is a major center for musical composition.

Fashion and Shopping a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture, Milan is the commercial capital of Italy and one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, it accounts for the lion’s share of the fashion trade, with some of the most renowned fashion houses headquartered here. Its upscale fashion district and Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall, offer the best shopping opportunities. 

Architecture and Design the city’s modern skyscrapers and unique liberty style office and apartment buildings make it a trend setter in architecture. Milan is also a leader in high-quality furniture and interior design and is home to Europe’s largest permanent trade exhibition – Fiera Milano – and one of the most prestigious international furniture and design fairs. Milan has recently undergone a massive urban renewal with several famous architects taking part in projects such as EXPO 2015.

Food and Wine home to a proud culinary tradition, Milan specialties include classic dishes like cotoletta alla milanese, cassoeula, stewed pork rib chops and sausage with cabbage, ossobuco, risotto, busecca and brasato, salami and gorgonzola cheese. Sweets include chiacchiere, panettone and tortelli. World-renowned restaurants and cafés can be found in the historic center, Brera and Navigli districts.

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Fort Wayne Indiana

 architecture manufacturing the arts culture and the river greenway

Located at the center of northeastern Indiana, Fort Wayne is located 18 miles (29 km) west of the Ohio border, 50 miles (80 km) south of the Michigan border and within a 300-mile (482 km) radius of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, and Milwaukee.

canoeing on st. marys riverOrigins built in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne as the last in a series of forts built near the Miami village of Kekionga, this European-American settlement developed at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Mary and Maumee rivers and later underwent growth with the Wabash and Erie Canal and the railroad. The term Summit City refers to the city’s position at the highest elevation along the canal’s route.

The Three Rivers Area was the Capital of the Miami Nation

fort wayne in 1812Geography the most important feature of the area is the short distance overland between the Three Rivers system, which flows to the Atlantic, and the Wabash system, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico; hence, the portage over which passengers and cargoes moved from one system to the next. This natural crossroads attracted the Native Americans for thousands of years. Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Nation called it “that glorious gate through which all the words of our chiefs had to pass through from north to south and from east to west.” It later attracted explorers, traders and pioneer settlers who continued to develop the area as a transportation and communications center.

Recent History at the turn of the 20th century, there was a large influx of Germans and Irish who formed Fort Wayne’s urban working class in an economy based on manufacturing and many innovations such as the gasoline pump, the refrigerator, and even the first video games. Following a long period of economic decline, efforts by local leaders during the 1990s focused on crime reduction, economic diversification, and downtown redevelopment which continued in the 21st century.

allen county war memorial coliseumArchitecture during the 19th century, Fort Wayne was dominated by Greek and Gothic Revival as well as Italianate architecture. Popular early-20thcentury architectural styles found in the city include Queen Anne, Romanesque, Neoclassical, Dutch Colonial Revival, Prairie, Tudor Revival and Art Deco.

Manufacturing is deeply rooted in Fort Wayne’s economic history, dating to the earliest days of the city’s growth as an important trade stop. From 1900 to 1930, Fort Wayne’s industrial output expanded by 747 percent. Despite economic diversification, the city was significantly impacted by the early 21st century financial crisis, losing nearly a quarter of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2014.

embassy theatre and indiana hotelArts and Culture since its establishment in 2010, the Cultural District has been home to several of the city’s cultural institutions, including the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, the Arts United Center, and Hall Community Arts Center. The Embassy Theatre hosts over 200,000 patrons annually and Foellinger Theatre hosts seasonal acts and outdoor concerts during warmer months. Located west of downtown, Arena Dinner Theatre is a nonprofit community arts corporation with a focus on live theater production, annually hosting seven full-length theatrical productions. Established in 1921, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art specializes in the collection and exhibition of American art.

The History Center Manages a Collection of 23,000 Artifacts Recalling Local History

three rivers fort wayneRiver Greenway is a system of recreational trails along the riverbanks designed to beautify the riverfronts and promote an active lifestyle for Fort Wayne residents. It comprises 180 miles (290 km) in the city and county and has about 550,000 annual users. With the expansion of trails, cycling has also become an emerging mode of transportation for residents.

Transport Fort Wayne is connected by air with five airlines offering direct service to 13 domestic connections. Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited are the closest passenger rail services to Fort Wayne, with a stop located 25 miles (40 km) north in Waterloo. Mass Transit consists of 12 bus routes through the cities of Fort Wayne and New Haven via downtown’s Central Station.

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Virtual Hotel Towns in US Historic Districts

economic development virtual hotel towns and diffused travel accommodations

An Economic Development model designed to offer quality stays that do not impinge on the local lifestyle while promoting year-round resilient growth that favors restructuring, preservation and local resources.

laclede landing.jpegVirtual Hotel Towns address the demand for sustainable, quality tourism in urban and rural areas by focusing on the interaction between visitors and locals as well as developing and promoting a community’s historic preservation efforts, traditions, values and architecture.

The Diffused Hotel is an innovative concept designed to revive small historic Italian communities by converting historic buildings into a virtual hotel village. Points of reference include:

Main Street Properties are managed by owners who also provide hospitality services

Travel Accommodations are derived from converted buildings in historic districts

A Central Reception provides Travel Related Services, including food and communications services.

Columbus Italian VillageCommunities with Guest and Host Interactions that Highlight Local Lifestyles

Local Businesses capable of managing incoming travel services benefit from a centralized marketing and sales program. Resources generated from inbound travel transactions are made available to Museums, Theaters and others on Main Street and in Historic Districts.

Local Projects integrate architecture with digital media and engage visitors through interaction with local citizens. Water resources and energy efficiency projects are also community attractors as domestic and international business and government visitors will come to study, learn and acquire knowledge and expertise in these fields.

Main Street GalenaA Virtual Hotel on Your Main Street and Historic District

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Jackson Mississippi

southern culture and history soul food and music literature architecture

The region that is now the city of Jackson was historically part of the large territory occupied by the Choctaw Nation and the historic culture of the Muskogean-speaking peoples that inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Pearl River barge transporting Saturn VLocated on the historic Natchez Trace trade route, created by Native Americans and used by European-American settlers, and on the Pearl River, the city’s first European-American settler was trader Louis Le Fleur. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Jackson was a trading post connected to markets in Tennessee.

The City of Jackson sits on the Pearl River in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi. Founded in 1821, it is named after General Andrew Jackson. Following the nearby Battle of Vicksburg in 1863 Union forces lay siege and subsequently burned it.

Jackson siegePearl River shipping was only 750 tons in 1827; by 1904 it reached 19,869 tons. Dams, canals, levees and water control structures have had negative effects on wetlands and the ecological services they provide; these artificial structures are being removed to allow natural river activities to resume.

Southern Culture, Jackson is home to world-class painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, architects, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and artisans. or a small business meeting.

A Culinary Scene with Chefs and Mom and Pop Restaurants

Eudora Welty House MuseumLiterature Eudora Welty was a Jackson native who lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city. Her writings presented a picture of the city in the early 20th century. A Pulitzer Prize winner, the main Jackson public library is named in her honor, and her home has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Richard Wright, a highly acclaimed African-American author, lived in Jackson as an adolescent and young man in the 1910s and 1920s. He described the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African Americans experienced in the South and in Northern ghettos.

Amtrak Jackson, MS StationArchitecture in the early 20th century. Jackson had significant growth which produced dramatic changes in the city’s skyline. Union Station reflected the city’s service by multiple rail lines; as railroads were among the new work opportunities for African Americans, who moved into the city from rural areas for such industrial-type jobs. Nearby, the 18-story Standard Life Building, designed in 1929, was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world upon its completion.

The City with Soul – Blues Gospel Folk and Jazz Music

Soul foodGold Coast during Mississippi’s extended Prohibition era from the 1920s until the 1960s, illegal drinking and gambling casinos flourished on the east side of the Pearl River, just across from the city of Jackson. Those illegal casinos, bootleg liquor stores, and nightclubs operated for decades; although outside the law, the Gold Coast was a thriving center of nightlife and music, with many local blues musicians appearing regularly in the clubs. The Gold Coast declined after Mississippi’s prohibition laws were repealed in 1966. In addition, integration drew off business from establishments that earlier had catered to African Americans.

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The Chestnut Hills Neighborhood of Philadelphia

8501Germantown Ave Cress HotelChestnut Hill is a beautiful award-winning neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia renowned for its gardens, art and architecture, parks, shopping, dining and many diverse, culturally enriching experiences.

 

Philadelphia’s Garden District Chestnut Hill is home to the Morris Arboretum situated on 92 lush acres and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Its garden features the Azalea Meadow, the Japanese Hill and Water Garden, the Rose Garden, Step Fountain, Madeleine K. Butcher Sculpture Garden, and the Swan Pond.

The Tree Adventure a Bird’s Nest with a Bird’s Eye View of the Forest from 50 feet

Valley Green Bridge on the WissahickonThe neighborhood is nestled along the 1,800 acres of Wissahickon Valley Park, part of Philadelphia’s 9,200-acre Fairmount Park with biking, hiking, fishing in season, horseback riding and picnicking.  For nature enthusiasts, one of the special attractions of the park is the Thomas Mill Road Covered Bridge which is the only remaining covered bridge in the Wissahickon.  Not far from the bridge is the path leading to the 15 ft high statue of a kneeling Lenape warrior sculpted in 1902 by John Massey Rhind to commemorate the passing of the native Lenape from the region.

Thomas Mill Covered BridgeOne of the most popular destinations in the park is the historic Valley Green Inn, built in 1851.  It is the last remaining example of the many roadhouses and taverns that served and watered the carriage trade along the Wissahickon in the 19th Century; the Inn is still serving delicious meals today.

Woodmere MuseumThe Woodmere Art Museum is housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion; it focuses on the art and artists, both historical and contemporary, of the Philadelphia region.  Among the artists represented are Violet Oakley, Benjamin West, Arthur Charles, and N.C. Wyeth.  There are also juried exhibits of local painters and sculptors, solo shows of promising newcomers, and sculptures displayed on its grounds.

Enjoy Jazz on Fridays and Classical Music on Sundays at the Museum

The architecture of Chestnut Hill comprises one of the best collections of 19th and early 20th century residential buildings in the country, from the early Italianate designs of Samuel Sloan, to the exuberant Queen Ann buildings of G.W. & W.D. Hewitt; from the groundbreaking European-influenced work of Wilson Eyre to the exquisitely designed country houses of Mellor Meigs and Howe; and from the ornate classical design of Horace Trumbauer to the early modern works of Louis J. Kahn and Robert Venturi.

Shopping in Chestnut HillShopping and dining are the cornerstones of life in Chestnut Hill.  Germantown Avenue, the cobblestoned street that runs through the heart of the neighborhood, is lined with more than 85 shops including one-of-a-kind boutiques, an old-fashioned hardware store, home furnishings, art galleries, antique shops, a garden center and flower shops, farmers markets, spas and more.  Dining options also abound, with both casual and sophisticated restaurants, taverns and cafes offering a variety of American and ethnic dishes.

Chestnut Hill SEPTAFestivals Chestnut Hill hosts theHome & Garden Festival in the spring, a Fall for the Arts Festival in October, and a Harry Potter Festival, also in October.   When winter comes, the street is transformed for the holidays, with garlands of pine around shop windows and lamp posts, barrels filled with berries and greenery, and thousands of twinkling white lights decorating the trees.  Roasted chestnuts, carolers, brass quartets and special shopping nights are part of the holiday tradition in Chestnut Hill.

A Town for all Seasons

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Architectural Historic and River Trails in Alton Illinois

Alton is located 25 Miles north of St. Louis amid the confluence of three navigable rivers, the Mississippi, the Illinois and the Missouri, as a river trading and industrial town whose waterfront features concrete grain silos and railroad tracks for the shipping of grains and produce. Once the site of several brick factories, Alton’s streets are paved in brick along with many commercial buildings located downtown. The Great Rivers Region is accessible from six interstates, an international airport and an Amtrak station.

Alton IL Melvin Price LocksHistoric Trails Alton’s Civil War and Lincoln Legacy Trail features costumed docents at sites throughout the city revealing Alton’s legacy through personal tales along with the Underground Railroad, where runaway slaves were hidden in caves, barns and basements. The Alton Museum of History and Art has special exhibits relating to Alton’s connection to the Civil War era.

Piasa Bird Alton ILThe Legendary Piasa Bird Painted on the Bluffs above the Mississippi River

Industrial Museums learn refinery operations and how products such as gasoline, jet fuel, propane and asphalt are made at the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery and Museum. The Mississippi Mud Pottery features artists as they demonstrate the molding of their unique pottery. At the National Great Rivers Museum and Melvin Price Locks & Dam feature the importance of the river system to America’s economy.

Alton IL Lewis Clark InterpretiveRiver Trails where great rivers converge with great moments in history at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Confluence Tower; learn how they planned their journey west.

Hartford is at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and point of departure for Lewis and Clark.
Elsah continuing up the Great River Road and marvel at the numerous buildings that still exist. Most of the houses and building in the village were built in the mid- to late 1800s.

The Entire Village of Elsah is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Grafton’s riverfront was packed with manufacturing companies, mills, quarries, loading docks, and riverboat traffic in the 1800s. Today, it is a tourist destination with its specialty shops and wineries.

Fort AltonArchitecture Trails many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style during the prosperous period in the river city’s history at the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and city hall.

The Middletown Historic District was the center of wealth in the early days of Alton with homes reflecting the wealth of families and their descendants that led Alton society for more than a century. Brick sidewalks connect a park with a Victorian playhouse and an area called Insuranceville.

Middleton Historic DistrictUpper Alton Historic District a cultural and educational center, Upper Alton was once a separate town anchored by a former military academy and the oldest continuously used educational buildings in Illinois.

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