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regional perspectives

Apr 27, 2017

Speaking of infrastructure

From the halls of Congress to City Hall we keep hearing about the need to invest in infrastructure.  Indeed, throughout the 2016 election campaign — and to the present – it seems that investment in infrastructure, at least in concept, is one issue that can bridge this nation’s partisan divide. We receive reminders of the […]

Jun 19, 2013

Joe Nathanson: Walkable urban places

Recently, while working on an assignment in an office building in downtown Columbia, I was reminded how pedestrian-unfriendly this part of the planned new town can be. It is helpful to pay full attention to the traffic and to be fleet of foot to run across Little Patuxent Parkway to grab a sandwich. While Columbia’s villages were designed for children to be able to walk or bike safely to their s[...]

Jul 31, 2012

Joe Nathanson: How do we get our region out of gridlock?

Atlanta-area voters went to the polls Tuesday to determine whether they were willing to add another penny to their sales tax for 10 years to generate $8.5 billion for the region’s overburdened transportation network. The referendum was the outcome of a process that led to a 2010 report documenting the stranglehold that traffic has on […]

May 21, 2012

Joe Nathanson: Next steps for Baltimore’s ‘next economy’

Periodically, various academics and think tank professionals have taken a look at the health of Baltimore’s economy. A study by the Washington-based Brookings Institution authored by Jennifer Vey is the latest, and it brings a refreshing new perspective to this line of inquiry. The report, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is titled “Building […]

Apr 9, 2012

Joe Nathanson: Counties face implementation of PlanMaryland

A recent meeting with Rich Josephson at the state planning department gave me a window into the next steps in Maryland’s long-running campaign to manage its land wisely. Josephson, as director of planning services, is the Maryland Department of Planning’s point person for moving the State Development Plan — PlanMaryland — into its implementation phase. […]

Aug 25, 2011

Joe Nathanson: Housing subsidy on the chopping block?

In recent weeks much of the nation was focused on the intense wrangling within the U.S. Congress over the need to raise this country’s statutory debt limit. There was something of the theater of the absurd in these negotiations. After all, hadn’t the majority in the House of Representatives voted just a few months earlier […]

Jul 11, 2011

Joe Nathanson: Smarter cities make for better city living

You’ve been in this situation: You’re driving around in circles looking for parking in a crowded downtown, wasting time, wasting gas and testing your patience. What if you could pull to the side, check your smartphone and determine the location of nearby garages, the availability of parking spaces and their cost? You can do that […]

May 16, 2011

Joe Nathanson: Grants go from zero to $150M in 24 hours

In the drama over the federal budget for fiscal year 2011, one small line item, the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program, was zeroed out on the Thursday before the agreement was reached. Not only were no dollars to be provided for the program, but specific language in the budget bill called for no federal […]

Aug 23, 2010

21st-century makeover for Baltimore’s zoning code

The slide presentation by Laurie Feinberg to a small group of planning and real estate development professionals began with an eclectic set of images: the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, at 11 years old, was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine; a 1971 model Buick LeSabre convertible was a choice available to the […]

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