In May I blogged about an interesting op-ed published in the University of Maryland student newspaper written by Maryland undergraduate David Daddio. Although College Park is the home of the University of Maryland’s flagship campus with almost 35,000 students and has its own Metro station on the D.C. subway, the “city” is limited to a run-down stretch of U.S. Route 1 near campus and few strip malls. In recent years a consensus has emerged among students and community leaders in College Park that the city should strive to become a better “college town.” At the end of the school year the student government even sponsored a design brainstorming session with the architecture school about how the city could grow. Despite all the interest, development has been uneven in the city: zoning decisions are controlled by county officials with other priorities, students are disconnected and ill-informed, and University administrators are often not engaged with community concerns.
David’s op-ed proposed a website that would function as “an ongoing public participation venue where students and city residents can be educated, debate the merits of projects and voice opinions.” When I got in touch with David to talk to him about my work with Arborupdate and DCist and offer to help in the effort, we decided to collaborate on a new site. Thus, today I’m happy to announce the beta launch of Rethink College Park. Our visionfor the blog is similar to what his original op-ed proposed: to connected stakeholders and encourage a “walkable, inclusive, and dynamic city.” We’re actively looking for event planners, graphic design people, writers, photographers, and just about anybody interested in helping, so please drop me a line if you want to get involved.