What I’m Reading

I’m sharing what has caught my eye that’s applicable to the current work that the Commission is engaged in … I’ve listed them starting with “A” …

A. From Social Life Project, “Seven Catalytic Placemaking Strategies: A Discussion About the Future of Vermont Downtowns: Restoring Social Life in Vermont Starts with a Rethinking of Streets, Public Spaces, and Community Institutions,” by Fred Kent, Kathy Madden, Amy Tomasso published on December 3, 2021, found here.

There are any good points to contemplate in this article (a 35 mins read) that can be applied to Chevy Chase, DC. This one jumped out at me, especially when we think of how to use our public library, community center, and beloved Avalon Theatre to create a more engaging public space for our residents.

Making Public Buildings Multi-Use Destinations

Public buildings in small towns are often prime places to let the activities that normally go on indoors to “spill outside,” meaning that (for example) a local library might provide outdoor reading spaces. Basically, the idea is to go beyond mere landscaping to add social life to the surroundings of public buildings. Meanwhile, institutions housed in these same buildings can give more “heart” to spaces like the aforementioned Town Squares through collaborative programming and events.

B. If you’re interested in learning more about community land trusts, here’s an article on what’s happening in CA … “Can This Innovative Housing Model Help Solve CA’s Affordable Housing Crisis?,” PBS News Hour, print version, December 11, 2021.

C. I’ve been thinking how we can build affordable housing throughout our neighborhood by turning abandoned or blighted property into affordable housing. Five cities have taken this approach already in an April 2021 web article published by the National Association of Realtors’ Home Ownership Matters, “Thinking Outside the Box–Cities Utilizing Unique Spaces for Affordable Housing Projects: These 5 cities are taking advantage of abandoned properties for affordable housing.” The District’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division has a program to transform vacant and blighted properties with data on its website that stops in 2019 (website accessed on January 14, 2022) so it’s not clear if this program has continued.