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Georgetown Convenes Planning Experts to Explore D.C.’s Future

SCS Urban and Regional Planning Lecture Series Photo

Georgetown's School of Continuing Studies welcomed its inaugural urban and regional planning graduate class this fall and is also sponsoring the "Planning Washington’s Tomorrow, Today" lecture series, Oct. 3-Dec. 12.

October 7, 2013 – Georgetown is inviting the public to attend a fall lecture series that convenes a group of urban and regional planning experts to talk about the future of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The nine-part series, which began this month and runs through Dec. 12, features planning experts and leading thinkers from the District of Columbia, the National Capital Planning Commission, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Washington Downtown Business Improvement District and other organizations.

“As the District of Columbia’s largest private employer and major source of economic and research activity, Georgetown is a natural forum for discussions about the future of the D.C. region,” said Lauralyn Lee, Georgetown’s associate vice president for community engagement and strategic initiatives. “Our office continues to work closely with city and regional leaders on strategic planning for the future and to fuel continued growth. We are excited to continue this dialogue in this special lecture series.”

Greater Collaboration

Guest speakers for “Planning Washington’s Tomorrow Today,” will touch on many issues affecting the area, including infrastructure and transit, economic growth, project financing, land use and the environment, historical preservation and civic dialogue in communities.

The urban and regional planning graduate program at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) welcomed its inaugural class this fall and is sponsoring the lecture series.

The lectures take place Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the university’s new downtown campus in the Gallery Place/Chinatown neighborhood.

“Urban revitalization is occurring across the U.S. as demographics shift and more people move to cities,” notes Uwe Brandes, executive director of the urban and regional planning program. “In response, the professional practice of urban planning has grown and there is a demand for greater collaboration to strategically plan and innovate in communities. We’re excited to serve as a forum to share policy ideas and best practices for planning D.C.’s future.”

Critical Role

SCS Urban Planning Lecture Series Stephen Fuller

Stephen Fuller, a university professor and director for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, talks about D.C. as a global business center during the Oct. 3 lecture of the "Planning Washington’s Tomorrow, Today" series at Georgetown's School of Continuing Studies..

Georgetown has been a committed partner to the District of Columbia for centuries.

The university’s Law Center has maintained a downtown presence since it was founded in 1875 in a building located at 4th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

“Since the Law Center moved to its current location in 1971, the university has invested substantial resources to develop the Law Center campus,” notes Walter Rankin, SCS’ interim dean. “Since then it has played a critical role in transforming this area of the city into the thriving and vibrant community it is now.”

Building on that foundation, the university recently opened a new downtown campus – to house SCS – just a few blocks away from the Law Center. The expansion provides more opportunities for education and training to residents of the D.C. metropolitan area and is designed to enhance the neighborhood's growth and development.

Training the Next Generation

Georgetown’s new master’s in urban and regional planning program hopes to develop visionary leaders who can integrate physical urban design with ethical and participatory urban planning strategies.

The program’s applied curriculum makes use of essential interdisciplinary tools such as geographic information system (GIS) mapping, statistical analysis and research methodologies to better understand the needs and patterns of a cities and regions.

“What we really try to do is make connection between theory taught in the classroom and applications of theory in the field,” Brandes said. “This lecture series is a perfect example of how we engage deeply with the professional planning community to train the next generation of urban and regional planners.”

Students in the program can specialize in urban planning fields such as community development, urban sustainability, economic development, environmental planning, transportation planning and housing development

Lecture Series Schedule

For more information and to RSVP, please visit

  • Oct. 10:  The Design Comedy: Plans, Aspirations and Folly, speaker: Roger K. Lewis, practicing architect, professor emeritus, University of Maryland and “Shaping the City” columnist for The Washington Post
  • Oct. 17: The Land Use and Transportation Challenge is Our Opportunity, speaker: Harriet Tregoning, director of planning, District of Columbia
  • Oct. 24: Feds and the City: Ideas Shaping the Nation’s Capital Today, speaker: Marcel Acosta, executive director, National Capital Planning Commission
  • Oct. 31: From Hubs and Spokes to Centers and Boulevards: Montgomery County in the 21st Century, speaker: Gwen Wright, director of planning, Montgomery County
  • Nov. 7: Building Synergies Between Airports, Rivers and Institutions in Northern Virginia, speaker: Mark Gibb, executive director, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
  • Nov. 14: The Continuing Transformation of Downtown D.C., speaker: Richard Bradley, CEO, Washington Downtown Business Improvement District
  • Dec. 5: From Subway to System: Negotiating the Region’s Infrastructure Gap, speaker: Shyam Kannan, director of planning, Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority
  • Dec. 12: New Dimensions of Civic Dialogue, speaker: David Alpert, founder and editor-in-chief, websites Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education

Georgetown University37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057(202) 687.0100

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