Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Thanks for your interest in Rethink College Park! Our community project is no longer updating this website, but we post updates on our Facebook page and Twitter account. Please follow us on these services to stay updated. This website will remain archived online as a community resource.

Update: Due to security problems with our old theme, we have switched the look to a new default theme. However, all the content remains available.

RTCP To Host March 19 New Contributors Meeting

UMD CHAPELRethink College Park (rethinkcollegepark.net/), a local group/website dedicated to helping transform College Park into a great college town, is currently recruiting new contributors. Part journalism and part smart growth advocacy community group, the project’s impact spans far beyond the internet. Rethink College Park sets the debate in local and regional traditional news outlets and helps instigate substantive policy change. The group’s members use the site as a sounding board to communicate smart growth concepts to the public and shape specific projects such as student housing proposals, the East Campus redevelopment and the proposed Purple Line light rail. In 2008, the urban planning portal Planetizen named Rethink College Park one of the web’s top 10 planning websites. In 2011, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recognized the project for its community activism and achievement.

The group is credited with:
– Helping advance multiple mixed-use student housing developers on Route 1
– Bringing the routing of the Purple Line through the University of Maryland campus to the forefront of public debate
– Furthering the goal of a pedestrian-friendly, transit-ready, mixed-use district for the state’s flagship university

We are seeking both residents and students with an interest in urban and transportation planning, journalism, and community participation. No experience necessary. Enthusiasm a must.

The meeting will be held at 6PM on Monday, March 19th at Looney’s Pub (8150 Baltimore Ave. – Ground floor of The Varsity). Email rethinkcollegepark@googlegroups.com to RSVP.

Governor Awards Rethink College Park for its Community Activism and Achievement

Rethink College Park will be officially presented with the 2011 Florence Beck Kurdle Award for Community Activism and Achievement by Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard E. Hall this morning. The honor, part of Maryland’s Smart, Green, and Growing Awards Program, is presented annually to a group who demonstrates professional commitment to making Smart Growth a reality in the state. Secretary Hall will make the presentation before a regular meeting of the Region Forward Coalition at College Park City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Clay Gump, a longtime member of the Rethink College Park, will be on hand to receive the award on behalf of the group’s contributors and founders.

What is Rethink College Park?

UMD CHAPEL

Rethink College Park (RTCP) was launched in July 2006 as a user-friendly website dedicated to creating a focused and sustained conversation about the future of College Park. Its mission is tohelp transform College Park into a great college town…. [through] full access to information, public dialogue, and the power of creative ideas.” Thousands now visit the site each week: reviewing maps, renderings and site plans; posting comments and contributing stories and tips.

RTCP’s simple structure, straightforward style and engaging content have garnered the project nearly universal praise in the community. Part journalism and part smart growth advocacy community group, the project’s impact spans far beyond the Internet. The group is the preeminent area advocate for redevelopment of the Route 1 Corridor in College Park; helping local citizens, politicians and university officials understand current events that affect their mutual interests. Its reporting helps further the goal of a pedestrian-friendly, transit-ready, mixed-use district for the state’s flagship university. The website has dramatically changed the way local citizens and the region view College Park’s smart growth potential.

Rethink College Park sets the debate in local traditional news outlets: helping initiate countless stories in the Washington Post, The Gazette, and the Diamondback (UMD student newspaper). It educates journalists and “breaks” dozens of smart growth-related stories each year. More importantly, the project has succeeded in instigating substantive policy change. The group’s members use the site as a sounding board to communicate smart growth concepts to the public and shape specific projects such as the University of Maryland’s East Campus Redevelopment Initiative (a major mixed-use redevelopment) and the routing of the Purple Line through College Park.

Perhaps best known for its advocacy of student housing construction for University of Maryland students, Rethink College Park has played a significant role in alerting local elected officials to the desperate need for student housing and bringing student leaders to the table to push projects to completion. The group also helped preserve and expand an important impact fee waiver incentive that encourages private student housing projects near the University of Maryland campus. Almost 4,000 beds of student housing, mostly in private, mixed-use projects have been completed since the group’s founding in 2006.

In 2008, the urban planning portal Planetizen named Rethink College Park one of the web’s top 10 planning websites.

Learn more HERE.

RTCP Presentation – Background, Impact, and Takeaways

The following is a presentation I gave to my colleagues at UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning last month. Included is some background on the beginnings of the RTCP as well as an honest assessment of the project’s impacts and takeaways. While the audience was composed of aspiring planners and academics, the presentation is accessible to a general audience.
Rethink College Park – DCRP Speaks Presentation

MEETING TODAY – Moving Rethink College Park forward.

*Please comment within this post if you plan to attend.

To Rethink College Park readers and contributors,

As you’ve likely noticed, there have been some changes around RTCP. As our leaders have moved in new directions, so too has this blog.

In order to keep RTCP as a valuable community resource, we’ll need your help. If you’re interested in getting involved in any capacity, please join us in a meeting to discuss how we can maintain RTCP and move it forward. This is an excellent way to get involved in the community and learn more about the unique challenges and opportunities that face it. RTCP is a nationally recognized smart growth project that has become extremely influential in agitating for smart growth in College Park. More than 1,000 unique visitors read our content each week.

We’ll meet this Wednesday, October 6 in the lower-level conference room of College Park City Hall. The meeting will run from 7:30 to 8:30PM.

Bring your questions, criticisms, and ideas for Rethink College Park. We’ll see you then!

Board of Regents Announces the Appointment of New University of Maryland President

It’s official.  The University of Maryland, College Park, has chosen a replacement for retiring President, CD Mote.  According to a University System of Maryland press release, the Board of Regents reported today the appointment of Wallace D. Loh as President, effective November 1, 2010.

Mr. Loh, who has over 30 years of experience in higher education, is currently the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Iowa.  He has held this position since 2008.

Although Mr. Loh was born in Shanghai, China, he grew up in Lima, Peru.   After graduating from high school in Peru, he immigrated to the U.S., where he attended Grinnell College in Iowa.  In addition to holding a PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Mr. Loh holds a JD from Yale Law School.

More information can be found at the following link, http://www.usmd.edu/newsroom/news/877.

Where are they now? Goodspeed and Daddio move beyond the beltway.

Some of our longtime readers may be wondering what has become of RTCP’s former editors and co-founders. Both of them have moved on to top planning programs and are cheering on College Park’s renaissance from afar.

Rob Likes librariesRob Goodspeed is entering his second year as a PhD student at the M.I.T. Department of Urban Studies and Planning and has a three-year fellowship appointment in the Urban Information Systems program group. In keeping with his work here at RTCP, Rob’s research in Cambridge focuses on how technology can improve cities by making urban planning decisions more democratic and informed. In his current research, Rob is exploring the social, political, and practical dimensions of the use of Internet tools for participation in urban planning. You can keep up with Rob on his personal blog: GoodspeedUpdate.com.

David Daddio is about to enter the Master’s program at the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill where he will focus on Land Use, Environmental Planning, and Transportation. In large part because of his work here at RTCP, David was offered a two-year fellowship appointment by the Department and will serve as a Co-Editor of the Carolina Planning Journal – the oldest student-run planning publication in the country. David looks forward to studying market-oriented approaches to growth management and land conservation that facilitate investment in existing communities and advance rational, environmentally-conscious communities.

Michelle Humanick

Back in 2006 this site was launched by David Daddio and Rob Goodspeed to focus on development issues taking place in College Park so that “students and city residents can be educated, debate the merits of projects and voice opinions.”   Both have since moved out of the city and for over a year now the person who has kept this site going and posted most of the articles you have read is a city activist by the name of Clay Gump.  Clay’s optimism about the future of College Park and the potential he believes our city has is refreshing and inspiring for those of us who believe College Park can one day be a truly great college town.

During last weekends storm tragedy struck as Clay’s wife Michelle was killed by a falling tree while running errands with her mother-in-law.  Michelle like Clay was dedicated to serving her community and making College Park a better place to live.  The Washington Post article on Michelle states:

“Michelle Humanick was ever-present in her College Park neighborhood. Stopping to chat while walking her golden retriever, Rocky BalBubba. Playing with her daughter in the snow. Hosting political events, countless play dates, family-friendly movie nights and a regular poker party with her husband.”

Clay and Michelle have done so much for our community from serving on city committees, to neighborhood watch, to keeping this site going (which I know many of us view us an amazing resource).  If you are as thankful as I am for everything Clay and Michelle have done for our community including this site and want to support Clay and his two  children please make a  contribution to the Sophie and Amelia Gump Education Fund in memory of Michelle, c/o Juliet Johnson at Suntrust Bank, 2825 Smith Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21209 (410-602-9109).

RTCP Hits the Public Radio Airwaves

I just returned from the Kojo Nnamdi show on Prince George’s Bloggers up at the WAMU station on the American University campus in Tenleytown. It was probably the biggest soapbox we’ve ever had the opportunity to stand on here at RTCP and I did my best to sing the praises of hyperlocal development blogs as a tool for Smart Growth. I thought he did and excellent job of getting right down to purpose and impact of RTCP and sites like it. Kojo definitely lived up to his reputation as one of the most able interviewers in DC.

LISTEN HERE (first 32 minutes)