Media Advisory: Vibrant Streets Learning Lab in Bethesda, Maryland

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Bethesda Row showcased in inaugural Vibrant Streets conference.

What: Vibrant Streets Learning Lab Conference

When: Monday, April 29 at 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Bethesda Row, Bethesda, MD

Vibrant Streets™, a Streetsense initiative, is holding its first Learning Lab conference on Bethesda Row. The event will be attended by economic development professionals, planners, retailers, commercial developers, and Main Street managers from across the country. The first day of the conference will feature best practices speakers, walking tours along Bethesda Row, and several chances to network.

Bethesda Row was featured in the DC Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit as a model vibrant street, which is why it was the perfect location for Vibrant Streets' inaugural event. The conference will take place at various businesses in downtown Bethesda, including Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema, Redwood, Vino Volo, and the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC-Bethesda.

The plenary speech in the morning will be given by Mitchell Silver, the immediate past president of the American Planning Association and Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer and Director for the Department of City Planning for Raleigh, North Carolina. The keynote speech in the afternoon will be delivered by Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of Retrofitting Suburbia.

The best practices speakers will present on topics ranging from a pop-up retail district in Cleveland, Ohio, to the role of land banking and code enforcement in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods, to arts and culture temporiums in Washington, DC. A major goal of the conference is to help attendees take the lessons learned from each project and apply them in an action plan to take back to their own communities.

The walking tours will be led by representatives from Victor Stanley, Inc., Nelson\Nygaard, Federal Realty Investment Trust, and Streetsense. Each walking tour will highlight aspects of Bethesda Row's transportation infrastructure, streetscape elements, mixed-use development, and design theory.

Lunch will be served at Redwood and a networking wine reception will be held at Vino Volo in the late afternoon.

Complimentary registration is available to the press. Please email Jessi Taff at jtaff(at)streetsense(dot)com to register. You will receive a confirmation email with more details. An agenda can be requested if you would like to attend a particular part of Monday's events.

About Vibrant Streets™:
Vibrant Streets™ is an initiative created to encourage successful, neighborhood retail environments “from the grassroots up.” The original project behind Vibrant Streets™ was a DC version of the toolkit, created in partnership with the DC Office of Planning. The Vibrant Streets™ Toolkit can be used by retailers, businesses, merchants' associations, government agencies, neighborhoods, and community groups to make incremental, measured improvements in their commercial districts to attract shops and restaurants. For more information, visit

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Jessi Taff
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