Speaker Series

Montgomery Parks 2018 – 2019 Speaker Series

Check out the previous speakers:


Jason Roberts – Building A Better Block

November 16, 2018 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m

Jason Roberts’ session entitled “Building A Better Block” will share insights on how to revitalize neighborhoods as walkable, vibrant community centers.  He and his team travel to cities around the country and abroad and work with citizens, area artists and businesses to reimagine where they live, work and play.

The session will also examine the recent work that the Better Block Foundation did right here in our area.   In October, members of the Randolph Hills Civic Association worked with the Montgomery County Parks & Planning Departments and The Better Block Foundation team to turn the Randolph Hills Shopping Center Parking lot into a community gathering place for two days.   You can learn more about the project and see the incredible transformation in this video.

Jason Roberts is an artist, civic activist and urban designer whose life’s work has been dedicated to the creation of healthy, vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods.  Jason has received a Champions of Change award from the US White House,  showcased in the 2012 Venice Biennale, and was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists. 

View the presentation online


David Barth – The Benefits of High-Performance Public Spaces

October 3, 2018 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m 

Learn about creating High-Performance Public Spaces (HPPSs) which help to generate economic, environmental, and social sustainability benefits for the local community.

Dr. David Barth is the Principal of Barth Associates. He is a registered Landscape Architect, Certified Planner, and Certified Parks and Recreation Professional who specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of the public realm.

View the presentation online


Scott Kratz and Jim Foster – Design: 11th St. Bridge Park and Anacostia Watershed Society

July 18, 2018 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m 

Could an old bridge be turned into a park? That’s what community activist Scott Kratz wants to achieve. He’s been working with Washington DC government and Building Bridges Across the River, a Ward 8-based non-profit, to transform an old freeway bridge into a park above the Anacostia River.

Jim Foster is the president of the Anacostia Watershed Society.  The Anacostia Watershed Society is committed to cleaning the water, restoring the short and honoring the heritage of the Anacostia River. The society’s goal is to help make the river fishable and swimmable by 2025.

View the presentation online

Lieutenant Nicole Adams and Sergeant Sabrina Pirtle, Maryland-National Capital Park Police – Safety in the Parks

June 6, 2018 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Lt. Adams and Sgt. Pirtle will provide insight into the Maryland-National Capital Park Police operations. The park police patrol and protect more than 36,000 acres of land and 14 million visitors each year. The session will also include park safety tips and information about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategies. CPTED is an approach that examines ways environmental design can deter criminal behavior.

View the presentation online


Beth Shogren and Stacie West – Parks, Placemaking and Economic Development: Using Public-Private Partnerships to Create Signature Park Experiences

April 17, 2018 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The panel will examine the critical role of memorable, activated parks in placemaking and economic development. How do well-located and well-designed parks and open spaces brand cities and neighborhoods? How do they contribute to the overall economic sustainability and livability of our urban areas, and make our county a desirable and enjoyable place to live and work? We will discuss successful examples of public-private partnerships in achieving these goals.

Beth Shogren is the Executive Director of Green Minneapolis.

Stacie West is the Director of Parks Projects at the NoMa Parks Foundation, an affiliate of the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID).

View the presentation online


Gil Penalosa – Urban Trail and Park Systems

February 21, 2018 

Deeply passionate about cities being for all people, Gil Penalosa has guided decision makers from around the world on how to create healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities that can be enjoyed by all. Penalosa believes in parks and streets as great public spaces, and puts emphasis on sustainable mobility like walking, cycling and public transit. Gil is the founder and chair of the internationally-recognized Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 cities. He is also chair of World Urban Parks.

View the presentation online


Peter Harnik – The Need for Great Urban Parks

January 17, 2018 

Peter Harnik is the founder of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land (TPL), which he directed until his retirement in 2016. He is the author of Urban Green, Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities and Inside City Parks, a book about the park and recreation systems of the 25 largest U.S. cities. He was co-creator of the ParkScore methodology of rating urban park systems across the nation and co-founder of City Parks Alliance. Previous to TPL, he was co-founder of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and coordinator of Environmental Action, Inc. He is currently writing a history of the rails-to-trails movement in the United States.

View the presentation online 


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Last Updated: November 27, 2018