Urban Fold

7 Ways Portland Is Better Than Your City

On a recent trip to Portland, land use attorney Bill Adams couldn't help but make comparisons to redevelopment efforts elsewhere. He found 7 tangible areas in which Portland shines through its copious clouds.
David Wilson / flickr

Upon visiting Portland, land use attorney Bill Adams, came away with the impression that his own city, as well as other western cities, missed the memo on how to redevelop well. In particular, Portland's redevelopment efforts either produced or preserved the following livable urban characteristics: 

"1) Portland puts street level before skyline. Portland’s skyline is unimpressive. . . In contrast, at street level, Portland seems more an urban environment than its bigger West Coast brethren.

2) Tolerance. . . While signs in other cities speak of banning . . . activities in various locations, Portland appears more ready to embrace, or at least tolerate, all segments of its population.

3) Preservation and adaptive reuse. . . the city appears to have not simply preserved 'landmark' buildings, but preserved neighborhood and urban fabric as well.

4) Priority rather than equality for non-auto transportation projects.

5) Grid relief. . . Portland has embraced its few existing alleys (and by appearance, created some new ones) by making them small linear parks, retail arcades, or outdoor patios.

6) Parks. Portland was seventh on a recent ranking of best . . . cities for parks. . . if the ranking was limited to downtowns, Portland would fare even better and some of the other cities in the top ten wouldn’t be there.

7) Trees. Portland, thanks to its abundance of rainy days, is very green. This green extends right into its downtown. Not just little plants and trees but big shade trees. These trees soften downtown’s hardscape and create a park-like feeling in most of downtown."

Full Story: 7 ways Portland is better than other cities – an outsider’s perspective.

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
$105
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95