FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Maryland Department of Planning Announces 2023 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards Winners

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John Coleman


Maryland Department of Planning Announces
2023 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards Winners

Awards Recognize People and Projects that Advance Sustainable Growth and Conservation in Maryland

(November 30, 2023) BALTIMORE, MD – Over the coming weeks the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) will be presenting this year’s Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards in the categories of Leadership and Service, Sustainable Communities, and Preservation/Conservation. Marking its 11th year, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that exemplify well-planned economic and community development initiatives with outstanding care towards sustainability throughout the State.

The six winners and one honorable mention awards are for individuals and organizations that demonstrate their commitment and care for sustainable growth - development or redevelopment that is compact, walkable, and takes advantage of the existing infrastructure while preserving the rural landscape in Maryland. Encompassing a wide range of projects, this year’s awards recognizes work done in furthering education, planning efforts, and reimagining spaces that all help make Maryland a greener and more equitable state.

“These award recipients are at the forefront of sustainable growth planning and practices, and for that Maryland’s future is brighter,” said Maryland Department of Planning Secretary Rebecca L. Flora. “I congratulate the recipients for their efforts and for providing shining examples of sustainable work, in turn inspiring jurisdictions and communities alike to engage in similar efforts.”

Secretary Flora will present the awards at the following recipient locations:

  • Baltimore County Retrofit Mapping
    Friday, December 1 at 3:00 p.m.
    Historic Courthouse, Room
    118400 Washington Avenue
    Towson, MD 21204
  • College Park Hollywood Streetscape Project
    Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m.
    College Park City Hall, Second floor
    7401 Baltimore Avenue
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Thrive Montgomery 2050 - General Plan for Montgomery County, MD
    Thursday, December 14 at 9:00 a.m.
    Wheaton Headquarters
    2425 Reedie Drive
    Silver Spring, MD 20902
  • Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm
    Thursday, December 14 at 3:30 p.m.
    3811 Park Heights Avenue
    Baltimore, MD 21215
  • Josh Hastings - Sustainability Advocate
    Wednesday, December 6 at 9:30 a.m.
    MACo Winter Conference
    Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, Clipper ABC room
    100 Heron Boulevard at Route 50
    Cambridge, MD 21613
  • Howard County Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program
    Friday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m.
    10520 Old Frederick Road
    Woodstock, MD 21163

Short videos about each award recipient will be available on MDPs YouTube channel in the coming weeks.

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The 2023 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards winners are below:


These awards are for activities or accomplishments that advance public appreciation, understanding or involvement in promoting smart growth and sustainable communities at the state, regional, or local level.

23GrAward Baltimore County Retrofit Mapping

Baltimore County Retrofit Mapping

Baltimore County Department of Planning created a thorough and data-driven approach to “Retrofit Mapping,” which was essential to and incorporated into the Growth Framework of their Draft Master Plan 2030. Gathering significant public input, this initiative has meaningfully advanced the community’s involvement in promoting smart growth and sustainable communities, and has produced a path to supporting intensified land uses in the area.

23GrAward Josh Hastings - Sustainability Advocate

Josh Hastings - Sustainability Advocate

As the executive Director of Forever Maryland, Chairman of the Delmarva Land and Litter Collaborative, and as developer and leader of two coalitions that led to the establishment of the Greenspace Equity program and adoption of the Maryland the Beautiful act, Josh has made impressive strides at furthering sustainable policies and initiatives in the State.

Sustainable Communities

These awards are for facilitating or creating development that addresses at least one or more of Maryland’s 12 Planning Visions.

23GrAward College Park Hollywood Streetscape Project

College Park Hollywood Streetscape Project

The Hollywood Streetscape Project has revitalized what was previously a barren and busy intersection in College Park to make it a center for commercial activity and community celebrations. The project has added biking and pedestrian infrastructure, stages for live performances and social gatherings, and open spaces for recreational activities. Touching on nearly all 12 Planning Visions, the project effectively represents community design and brings an inviting new space to the residents of College Park and its visitors.

23GrAward Thrive Montgomery 2050

Thrive Montgomery 2050 - General Plan for
Montgomery County, MD

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is the recent update to Montgomery County’s General Plan, and the first comprehensive update to the county’s General Plan in over 50 years. It defines the overarching land use policies and context for all public and private development and infrastructure in the county and will guide all future master planning. The plan anticipates a county that will become more urban, more diverse, and more interconnected, with three overarching objectives of economic competitiveness, racial equity and social justice, and environmental health and resilience.


Preservation/Conservation Project awards are presented to individuals, organizations, government agencies, and other entities for their accomplishments in protecting or improving farms, forests, natural resources, and the waters of Maryland.

Howard County Purchased Conservation Easement
Pilot Program

In 2022, Howard County Government, in partnership with the Howard County Conservancy, a local land trust, launched the Howard County Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program. The first of its kind in Maryland, this program specifically targets nonprofit property owners with environmentally sensitive land and provides them with financial incentives to protect environmentally sensitive areas on their property.

23GrAward Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm was born out of a group of Caribbean/American citizens’ desire to effect change and have a positive impact on the lives of young adults that reside in the Park Heights community of Baltimore, Maryland. The farm’s primary missions are to develop the next generation of farmers by training young adults and providing fresh produce and herbs to the local community. On what was once seven acres of vacant lots, the farm has now grown and distributed over 200,000 pounds of food to 6,300 households.

Honorable Mention

“Scenario Planning for Restorative Justice in Lakeland, College Park, MD” Community Planning Studio, Fall 2022

This Community Planning Studio course was designed to help support ongoing restorative justice efforts for Lakeland, a historically Black neighborhood located in College Park that faced detrimental effects of an urban renewal plan the city had implemented throughout the 1970s and 80s. A capstone experience in the Master’s of Community Planning program at the University of Maryland, College Park, the students of this studio course analyzed existing conditions in Lakeland, organized and pursued community engagement opportunities, and designed three planning scenarios based on projected future conditions.