Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS)

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The Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) is administered by the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). It is a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity of UMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. PALS is designed to provide innovative, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating real-world problem-solving experiences for University of Maryland graduate and undergraduate students.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 230
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    Reimagining Wilmer's Park
    (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), 2022) Adams, Thomas; Akers, Bryce; Contreras, Edenilson; Dashiell, Isiah; Erwin, Abby; Gonzalez, Carlos; Hargrove, Cierra; Jeon, Ryan; Mohan, Madison; Ourand, Matthew; Shelton, Gabrielle; Steuernagle, Emmeline; Thomas-Cogar, Kennedy; Yang, Charlotte; Cakil, Yasemin; Kweon, Byoung-Suk; Seiz, Audrey
    Wilmer’s Park is a “80-acre parcel containing the ruins of a dance hall, motel, ranch house, covered stage, baseball and football fields. As a major stop on the Chitlin Circuit, Wilmer’s Park opened its doors to African-American musicians, entertainers, athletes and fans from the early 1950s through the late 1960s. Arthur Wilmer used his experience and connections developed as the owner of a night club in Washington, D. C. to bring both popular acts and up-and-coming performers to rural Prince George’s County; the bandstand at Wilmer’s Park showcased everyone from Duke Ellington and Otis Redding to the Temptations, Patti La Belle, and a young Stevie Wonder. The former tobacco farm played an important role in exposing emerging musicians to local African Americans during a time of segregation.” The park has been closed for 10+ years and the purpose of this project is to transform Wilmer’s Park for the residents of Brandywine or nearby communities. For this project, students work in teams of three to design a master plan along with an individual detailed site plan. The design program for these plans came from the residents’ comments from community engagement workshops, notes from Councilman Harrison’s interview, important stakeholders, the field trip, and guest lectures. The master plan does not include all 80 acres of the park and often identifies a phasing plan for the entire project.
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    Scenario Planning for Restorative Justice in Lakeland
    (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), 2022) Abban, John; Abe, Danielle; Asamoah, Heather; Dyson, Katharine; Farieta, Maria; Hackman, Michael; Jett, Connor; Kaku, Upasana; Kaushik, Redowan; Madden, Maureen; Mekonnen, Elizabeth; Mitchell, Caitlyn; Nkwantabisah, Pamela Owusu; Ripley, Benjamin; Spaniol, Matthew; Whiteheart, Rachel; Irazabal, Clara; Cameron, Hannah
    This report begins with a discussion of the concept of restorative justice and the three themes that guided and organized our work — community infrastructure, housing and land use, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Following this introduction of the three guiding themes, the report contains a summary of our analysis of existing conditions, including a review of different planning sectors, a brief history of Lakeland, and a summary of plans and policies that have influenced the course of Lakeland. The next section of the report is a summary of the findings of our various community engagement approaches, including recommendations for future best practices for the city and the Restorative Justice Commission as they continue this work. Finally, we present the three planning scenarios — Status Quo, Reform, and Revolutionary — that envision various alternative futures for Lakeland.
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    Solar Microgrid Implementation in Prince George’s County, Maryland
    (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), 2022) French, Chase; Van Kirk, Jack; Messick, Andrew; Megale Sanders, Martin
    This paper discusses the benefits associated with developing a solar microgrid in a low-income community in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The benefits include reduced air pollution in the community, reduced adverse health impacts from air pollution, reduced spending on utility bills, as well as increased energy security and a more equitable distribution of renewable energy. Using various sources including reports, academic articles, and case studies, this study proves installation of a microgrid in the County would benefit the community and the surrounding area. An in-depth cost-benefit analysis proves the economic feasibility of a microgrid, and the social benefits provide a sound argument for the benefits of installation. Barriers to implementation are also discussed, focusing on problems related to the source of initial funding. The study concludes with two recommendations for implementing resilient solar photovoltaic systems in Prince George’s County. First, finding alternative funding for a microgrid such as federal grants, public partnership, private sector involvement, and community-based funding. Second, the County should consider using community solar rather than a microgrid based on case studies that indicate the cost-effectiveness and increased feasibility of community solar compared to a solar microgrid.
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    Neighborhood Perceptions and Biking in the Port Towns of Prince George’s County, Maryland
    (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), 2022) Friel, Andrew; Goldscher, Paige; Ortiz, Cristian; Solan, Jennifer; Sorensen, Jacob; Cooper-Jean, Ebonie
    The relationship between biking and gentrification in the Port Towns has yet to be fully understood. While working with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, students from the University of Maryland sought to identify barriers to biking access in the Port Towns of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and how Port Towns residents perceive development, gentrification, and biking.
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    Non-Traditional Maryland Mainstreets
    (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability, 2022) Kim, Tae; Simeen, Afia; Singh, Udai; Yu, Jiaxin; Hoang, Ryan; Garchitorena, Arvyn; Lin, Arthur; Alale, Oreoluwa; Farshchi, Nima
    In Prince George's county, there are many communities and towns that have a main road lined with unique businesses that are central for local residents, but the structure of these places does not fall within the classical definition of a "main street.” What financial and cultural resources can municipalities with non-traditional mainstreets use to grow these small business corridors?