Tuesdays at APA–DC

Urban Design and the Capital City

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 • 5:30 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., has long been shaped as a city of big ideas within a planning framework befitting the image of a capital city. Now well into its third century, the nation's capital is emerging as a vibrant, modern metropolis that has more than lived up to the ambitious plans that have shaped it.

As the city continues to grow, it now faces new 21st century challenges that will require creative thinking and inspiring urban design to ensure Washington remains the enduring model of what a capital city should be. The architecture and urban design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill recently invested in this challenge by bringing a formal planning presence back to its Washington office, enhancing its long-standing presence as urban designers in this region at the same time that it continues to work at the forefront of designing flexible frameworks for entire new cities all around the world.

Roger Weber, SOM's senior urban designer in Washington, will talk about SOM's work in Washington, linking the local challenges the city faces to the global challenges of urbanization all around the world. He will share his thoughts on some of the big ideas that will allow Washington to continue to compete globally as a model of livability and sustainability, as well as lessons it has wrought for the development of new cities elsewhere.

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Roger WeberRoger Weber is the senior urban designer in the Washington, D.C., office of the City Design Practice for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The City Design Practice is a multi-disciplinary studio of architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, landscape architects, and computational experts who respond to a rapidly urbanizing world by creating comprehensive master plans that define flexible, location-specific frameworks of infrastructure and natural systems upon which cities can grow incrementally. While preferring to redesign previously developed areas, the practice follows a set of holistic design principles that generally includes transit-supported, mixed-use densities with walkable neighborhoods and routine access to nature. The efficient use of resources, environmental sensitivity and respect for local culture are guiding values in its designing human habits for the healthful pursuit of happiness.

Source Water Protection in the 21st Century

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 • 5:30 p.m. ET

As news arises of drought, harmful algal blooms, and chemical spills across the nation, we are regularly reminded of the need to protect drinking water in our cities and communities. Every day, land use decisions affect future drinking water supplies, either intentionally or inadvertently. By protecting sources of drinking water through regular planning activities and practices like green infrastructure, we can build resilient, healthy, and beautiful communities.

The Source Water Collaborative formed in 2006 with the goal to combine the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to act now, and protect sources of drinking water for generations to come. As a member of the collaborative, APA works with partners like the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the US Forest Service, Smart Growth America, and many others to help communities across the nation protect sources of drinking water.

In this session, members of the Source Water Collaborative will:

  • Present tools and resources that planners can use to integrate source water protection into visioning, zoning, and beyond.
  • Showcase several cities that are building plans to safeguard their water supplies while engaging local residents and beautifying neighborhoods.
  • Offer tips for working with state and local partners as part of a collaborative group to protect drinking water — and find help, expertise, and resources.
  • Highlight critical areas of key action needed to protect drinking water into the future.
  • Discuss strategies for funding projects, finding help and technical assistance, leveraging data from local partners like drinking water utilities and industry, and more.

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Rachel CarlsonRachel Carlson is an environmental protection specialist in the Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, U.S. EPA. She assists with geospatial analysis and outreach in a variety of projects to protect sources of drinking water and participates in the Source Water Collaborative, a group of 26 national organizations including APA that are dedicated to protecting source water. Prior to joining EPA, Carlson worked for watershed projects under the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Senegal and Guinea, as well as several nonprofit initiatives in Ireland, India, and the U.S. Carlson holds a Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering degree from Rice University and an MS in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin.

Jim TaftJim Taft is executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, which supports the efforts of drinking water program administrators in states, territories, the District of Columbia, and the Navajo Nation as they implement the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Previously, Taft worked for the U.S. EPA (Office of Wastewater Management & Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Ocean County (New Jersey) Utilities Authority, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. Taft holds a BS in Biology from Villanova University and an MS from the University of Cincinnati in Environmental Engineering.

Tuesdays at APA–DC

Join APA in Washington, D.C., each month for this after-work lecture and discussion series. Practicing planners, researchers, and professionals from allied fields discuss innovative ideas and concepts or present their latest projects.

The events are free and open to APA members and nonmembers. If you can't join us in person, check out the podcast. Podcasts of many of the programs are posted on the event archive page approximately one week after the live event.


APA's Washington Office
1030 15th St., NW
Suite 750W
Washington, DC 20005

APA's Washington, D.C., office is located on the corner of 15th and L Streets NW. Please use the entrance on 15th Street. Let security know you are there to attend an event at the American Planning Association and they will direct you to the elevator to the 7th floor.

Several public transportation lines are close by, including the red (Farragut North station) and orange (McPherson Square station) lines. Several Capital Bikeshare stations are also nearby (17th & K; Thomas Circle). Additionally, several paid parking garages are available nearby.

Would You Like to Be a Speaker?

Contact Anna Read at aread@planning.org.

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