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May 29, 2012

Placemaking: Ann Marie Hohenberger



Our 2012 annual community conversation took a look at the concept of placemaking and the  findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project which reveal how attachment to place drives economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which a place chooses to change and grow.

This series features reflections from community members who attended the event. We hope their stories will inspire you to define your version of this community’s narrative and use it as a lens through which to view decisions that will impact the character of this community.

Name: Ann Marie Hohenberger Annmarie7
Age: 34
City/County resident? City
Occupation: Freelance business writer; server at Hamiltons’ downtown
How long have you lived in Charlottesville? 17 years

Why did you come here? 
I went to UVA as an undergrad. I visited on a spring day and immediately fell in love with the natural beauty here.

What do you love most about where you live?
I love “small city” life. I can bike almost anywhere I need to go, but I can still live on a tiny, quiet street with a view of Carter’s Mountain. Every day there’s an incredible variety of events - music, theater, community meetings, clubs & activities - and no matter what I choose, I’ll probably run into someone I know.

My favorite thing about this area is the enthusiasm for local food. As an aspiring urban homesteader, I’m so grateful to talk with farmers at the market and start learning all the things I missed growing up in the suburbs. Then I can go to a restaurant and glean ideas for cooking with pastured meats and seasonal produce.

Any takeaways from the Placemaking event?
One statistic that particularly stood out from the Soul of the Community studies was that, on average, 40% of people felt no attachment to their community. That sounds like a massive, widespread failure to serve everyone’s needs, rather than just the needs of certain segments. What a loss for the community to have so many people uninvested in the well-being of their neighbors and neighborhoods. 

Continue reading "Placemaking: Ann Marie Hohenberger" »

News n' Brews: Imagining Futurist Charlottesville

On Thursday night, local officials and community members joined us at Chroma Gallery on the downtown mall to consider the question:  What could Charlottesville look like if there were no rules? 

Here's how we captured the conversation...

May 09, 2012

Green roofs sprouting around community

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The many benefits of green roofing systems were the topic of the presentation at the James River Green Building Council’s luncheon on Tuesday.  

Scott Titanish, the LiveRoof area manager at Riverbend Nursery, a green roofing company, detailed how green roofs can counteract some of the negative impacts of urbanization like the urban heat island effect and stormwater management problems.

The green roof on Charlottesville City Hall
as viewed from the McIntire Street Parking Garage

“Is green roofing going to stop all this? No, but it is a great way to help mitigate,” Titanish said.

LiveRoof, which is locally distributed by Riverbend, is no stranger to the Charlottesville area despite its Riner location. It has installed green roofs on the SNL Financial building in downtown Charlottesville, UVa’s biomedical engineering and medical science building and private residences throughout the area.

Local government buildings in Albemarle County and the city are no strangers to green roofs either. The city of Charlottesville added a green roof to City Hall and the police annex in 2008. The city’s website states that the vegetation covers 9,250 square feet of roof and features 18,540 plants distributed across its surface.

The Albemarle County Office Building on McIntire Road also had a green roof installed on it in July 2005. Gregor Patsch, water resources engineer for Albemarle, said that the roof frequently attracts students from UVa who want to see one first-hand.

“People seem to think it’s cool and they’re interested in it,” Patsch said. “I take quite a few visitors up there every year and there’s a group of local students in a class at UVa that come every year.”

Continue reading "Green roofs sprouting around community" »

May 08, 2012

Placemaking: A Blueprint for our Future



Watch the video filmed by Brian Wimer

Download Download the presentation

On April 26, Charlottesville Tomorrow held its annual community conversation. This year’s topic was “Placemaking: A Blueprint for our Future.” Over 130 community members turned out to hear Dr. Katherine Loflin present her findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project on how attachment to place drives a community’s economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which we as a community choose to change and grow.

The top-4 attachment factors (full study):

  1. Social offerings
  2. Openess
  3. Aesthetics
  4. Education

If you weren't able to attend, here's a little background: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup recognized that there had long been a connection between employee satisfaction and business productivity, and they wondered if the same could be applied to communities. So they set out to see if there was any connection between people’s general feelings of satisfaction about where they lived and the overall productivity and economic health of a community.

The resulting study of 26 communities, called the Soul of the Community, ended up drawing clear parallels between what they call “attachment drivers” and the growth of a local economy. Purposefully emphasizing those drivers in community-wide decision making and keeping place central to decisionmaking is what they call placemaking. Download the latest results from the project here.

At Charlottesville Tomorrow, we view ourselves as conveners of a conversation. We want you to get involved and make an informed choice. We think clearly understanding what makes our community special in a way that acts as a context for the decisions we make about how we change and grow is important; to that end, over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you commentary from people who attended the event and want to share their thoughts on Placemaking in this community.

20120426-audienceOver 130 community members turned out to hear
Dr. Katherine Loflin present her findings from the
Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project
Panel_1A local panel, composed of Kathy Galvin, David Sloan
Paul Beyer, and Andrea Douglas, responded 

Photo credits: Rich Tarbell

This event was made possible by the generous support of the
Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and
the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

CACF_logo Kflogo-300x50

Listen using player above or download the podcast:
Download 20120426-Placemaking



  • 00:01:07 - Introduction by Michael Bills, Chairman, Charlottesville Tomorrow Board of Directors
  • 00:05:20 - Presentation by Dr. Katherine Loflin
  • 01:01:00 - Panel introductions and discussion
  • 01:24:22 - Audience questions


View photos by Rich Tarbell on Flickr

May 07, 2012

Startups finding their place near UVa, Downtown Mall

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, May 7, 2012

Amid recent community discussions about innovation, entrepreneurship and industries targeted for growth, the physical spaces sought by startup companies seem less likely to be found in a traditional office or research park.

University of Virginia Research Park on U.S. Route 29 North

Buildings in close proximity to the University of Virginia or directly on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall appear to be gaining favor.

Michael J. Prichard, chief technology officer and founder of WillowTree Apps, chose the Downtown Mall instead of a traditional office park as the location to grow his business.

“As a tech company, we like to be more in an urban area rather than somewhere removed,” Prichard said. “[The Downtown Mall] is more of a metropolitan, city feel and better for our company culture.”

“Having all the restaurants, coffee shops, etc. in walking distance is a huge plus for our team,” said Tobias A. Dengel, chief executive officer of WillowTree Apps.

Prichard elaborated that he didn’t think those experiences would be as likely to happen in an office park.

“Our employees would revolt if we tried to move. It would be pretty hard to pull us out of here,” said Prichard. “For us, it’s just the fact that you would be removed from the center of town. Most of the parks I know are a little bit outside of the city … you have to drive to go anywhere.”

Continue reading "Startups finding their place near UVa, Downtown Mall" »

April 28, 2012

Soundboard 4-27-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source


Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120427-Soundboard

The April 27 show features contributors Giles Morris, Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs   (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • guest Elizabeth “Bitsy” Waters for Arbor Day festivities
  • the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s new executive director
  • the debate over mining uranium in Virginia
  • guest Katherine Loflin on placemaking, the topic of Charlottesville Tomorrow's 2012 annaul event held April 26
  • Love lawsuit and George Huguely trial
  • lawsuit against the Meadow Creek Parkway interchange
  • and a recap of the Dining Out for Life event for the AIDS/HIV Service Group

Soundboard is produced by Susan Gravatt and Nathan Moore. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!




March 30, 2012

Community gets engaged on West Main's past, present and future


On Thursday night at Charlottesville Tomorrow's monthly News n' Brews, about 70 community members packed into Zinc to talk about the evolution of the West Main Street area.

Curious about who owns property there?  So were we...

Here's how we captured the conversation...

March 06, 2012

Council OKs task force to study Belmont Bridge corridor



View looking west from the Belmont Bridge overseeing several properties that will be redeveloped in the future 

Related Belmont Bridge stories:

Belmont Bridge’s future: Winning design faces obstacles, 3/5/2012 by Sean Tubbs

Council to take up Belmont-area redesign Monday, 3/5/2012 by Graham Moomaw

Council opposes grant application for new Belmont Bridge design, 2/22/2012 by Sean Tubbs

Winning design for Belmont: No bridge, more connectivity for Belmont and Downtown Mall, 2/21/2012 by Courtney Beale

UVa teams unveil Belmont Bridge concepts, 2/12/2012 by Sean Tubbs

UVa teams finalizing designs for new Belmont Bridge, 2/11/2012 by Courtney Beale & Sean Tubbs

UVa architecture school to spend next 10 days imagining a new Belmont Bridge, 2/1/2012 by Brian Wheeler

Belmont residents seek new design for city bridge, 1/30/2012 by Sean Tubbs

Belmont Bridge design coming into focus, 6/22/2011 by Sean Tubbs

City to pay $14K to fence off Belmont Bridge sidewalk, 4/13/2011 by Jason Ha & Sean Tubbs

JPA bridge replacement funded by money from Belmont Bridge project, 1/27/2011 by Sean Tubbs

Belmont Bridge replacement offers opportunities for cyclists, pedestrians, 12/1/2010 by Sean Tubbs

City adopts new strategy to accelerate Belmont Bridge project, 5/19/2010 by Sean Tubbs

MMM Design selected to oversee new Belmont Bridge design work, 4/8/2009 by Sean Tubbs

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Charlottesville’s City Council voted Monday to allocate up to $150,000 to hire a consultant to study development opportunities and infrastructure requirements in the area around the Belmont Bridge.
However, the study itself will not directly address new designs for the bridge’s replacement.
“I’ve not included the Belmont Bridge in this because I think that’s a separate process moving forward that we need to continue with,” said Jim Tolbert, the city’s director of neighborhood development services.

The city has been planning for a replacement of the bridge since 2003, when engineers determined it was rapidly deteriorating. Plans for a replacement produced by the firm MMM Design did not meet with approval from the Board of Architectural Review in September. A grassroots design competition was held in February to solicit more design ideas.

“It is abundantly clear from the flurry of bridge activity that the public does not want and will not support moving forward with the current proposal that initially inspired the competition,” said Belmont resident and architect Jim Rounsevel, whose entry placed second in the contest.
Rounsevel and several other speakers asked councilors to appoint a citizens’ committee to oversee the continuation of the design process.
However, Tolbert responded that his staff will meet next week with MMM Design planners, Iñaki Alday of the University of Virginia School of Architecture and landscape architect Beth Meyer to sift through ideas that originated from the contest.
“I had not envisioned having a committee to work on [the bridge],” Tolbert said.
However, Councilor Dave Norris asked for Belmont residents to be part of next week’s meeting with between staff and MMM Design. Tolbert agreed but said that would not take place during the initial review. No timeline has been established for when their work will be completed.
The bridge project will be the first item reviewed later this year by a new task force also approved by the City Council on Monday.
The Placemaking, Livability and Community Engagement design task force (PLACE) will have seven members representing the architecture, arts and development communities, as well as the public at large.
“[It is] tasked with several things, primarily looking at the development of public properties,” Tolbert said. “I think it would have been a very useful group to have had when we started the Belmont Bridge process.”
Rounsevel urged the council to make sure the review process is as transparent as possible.
“We got into this mess because … representatives of the Belmont neighborhood continued to ask for a whole host of things that we felt like MMM summarily was not able to provide,” Rounsevel said. Specifically, Rounsevel wanted the company to build models depicting how the bridge would fit into the environment.
“We have learned from our experience and we will do better,” said Mayor Satyendra Huja.
The review of the bridge design will be concurrent with the land-use study to be undertaken by a consultant.

Continue reading "Council OKs task force to study Belmont Bridge corridor" »

March 05, 2012

Belmont Bridge’s future: Winning design faces obstacles

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, March 5, 2012

The winning entry of a grassroots contest to develop a new design for the Belmont Bridge called for removing the structure entirely, but that idea may not win the approval of the two companies that own and operate the railroad that the bridge crosses over.


(Photo credit: Sabrina Schaeffer/The Daily Progress)
“We don’t like having at-grade crossings strictly from a safety perspective,” said Steve Powell, president of Buckingham Branch Railroad. “The rail industry as a whole is moving to eliminate as many crossings as possible.”
The Buckingham Branch Railroad leases the line from CSX, and Powell said both firms would have to grant permission for the crossing because it is their property.
But Daniel Bluestone, a University of Virginia professor of architecture and adviser to the Belmont UnAbridged entry in the Project Gait-Way contest, said he believes the city could compel CSX to allow the line to be crossed at-grade.
“The rail line was purchased and assembled by the C&O through public power of eminent domain granted by the Virginia legislature,” Bluestone said. “The same public power that created this rail corridor could be deployed by the city to create an at grade easement for a road crossing.”
Figures from the Virginia Department of Transportation indicate that vehicles pass over the bridge an average of 15,000 times a day. Bluestone said the winning design called for alternatives to help ease traffic flow for motorists.
“Belmont UnAbridged called for the widening of the Fourth Street underpass to accommodate two-way traffic and a series of electronic signals that could direct people to the bridge at Ridge Street and the underpass at Fourth,” Bluestone said.

Continue reading "Belmont Bridge’s future: Winning design faces obstacles " »

March 04, 2012

Meet Your Government: Margaret Maliszewski

Margaret Maliszewski

Principal Planner, Albemarle County

Where were you born (and raised, if different?)

I was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. You probably know it as that city you ride through as you take Amtrak from Washington to New York. (Actually, it has a very nice train station designed by Frank Furness in 1907.)

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I moved back to Charlottesville in late 1997 to work for Albemarle County.

What neighborhood do you live in now?

Belmont. I love being able to have a yard big enough to have a garden (and bees) and still be able to walk from home, to downtown, to work.

Family (spouse, kids, etc)?

I’m married to a guy who loves to fish and hasn’t been on his boat all winter. A fisherman in winter can be a pretty pitiful sight. Thank God Spring is almost here.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I have a BS in Architecture from the Catholic University of America and a Masters in Architectural History from the University of Virginia.

What were you doing before coming to the work for the county?

When I graduated from UVA I moved to New York City and worked for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission for about 5 years writing reports that explained the architectural and historical significance of the city’s soon-to-be landmarks. I then moved to central Pennsylvania (culture shock) and did a variety of preservation planning work for two private firms for about 4 years.

Continue reading "Meet Your Government: Margaret Maliszewski" »