February 25, 2010
University of Maryland graduate students under the direction of Professor Matthew Bell did just that, spending the Fall 2009 semester imagining urban design strategies for selected sites in Silver Spring. In January, graduate students Amanda Ganginis and Maureen McKeron presented the studio's visions to the Montgomery County Planning Board.
“Silver Spring has seen many different versions of itself over the years,” explains Bell. “We wanted to focus on areas that are currently at the fringes of recently redeveloped portions, areas that will likely see redevelopment because of their adjacency to transit, infrastructure or public open space.”
The presentation to the planning board included student designs and strategies for underutilized or vacant properties near the Silver Spring Red Line Metro station, from higher-density solutions immediately adjacent to the station to low- to medium-rise proposals in the areas of Fenton Street Village and the Montgomery College campus. One solution in particular focused on developing a proper gateway along Georgia Avenue to mark the transition from the District of Columbia to the State of Maryland. The presentation also included previous studio work developing transit-oriented studies and designs for the Kensington and Glenmont rail stations.
“Our work is one way the planning board, citizens and the staff at Park and Planning can learn from some fresh ideas,” says Bell. “Transit locations are perhaps the best places for the county to focus growth and create great, livable neighborhoods. Using our community as a learning laboratory is a great way for our students to engage real-world problems that are of significance to our future.”
The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland is home to four academic disciplines: architecture, urban planning, historic preservation and real estate development. Committed to educating its students and community about the importance of sustainability and smart growth, the School practices an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, creative work, and community and professional service. For more information, please e-mail us or call 301.405.8000.