RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
on Up or Out?
With the exception of San Diego, Portland's density is the lowest of the principal cities on the west coast.
Our central city is riddled with parking lots and under used land.
Industrial sites are wastefull of land. Compare the campuses of employers in Washington Co. to similar campuses in Silicon Valley. Look at a solar panel or silicon chip factory in Germany, China or Japan. One will see far denser, more integrated mixed use environments in the home county/country of parent companies than are implemented here.
Unfortunately this debate has become polarized between sound-bite arguments.
The "up" vs "out" argument is not going to get us to the answer.
"Beside" and "between" might be a better way to frame the issue.
My study of 11 districts in the region demonstrates that all density is not alike. For example, most new suburban neighborhoods are far denser than most inner city neighborhoods.
However, dense suburban neighborhoods are designed for the auto, so the experience and behavior is still suburban in nature and un-sustainable.
Three of Portland's oldest, greenest neighborhoods are denser than the Pearl District and close to the density of the South Waterfront, but without the uniformity, sterility, and lack of trees/landscaping that characterizes these two districts.
These neighborhoods (Goose Hollow/King's Hill, Sullivan's Gluch, NW Alphabet district) are mixed in building type, housing unit type, and use. Towers, courtyard apartments, apartment blocks, townhomes, and single family houses mingle with each other in a manner that provides for large trees, intensely cared for gardens, and an even blend of offices, retail, and services. Parks and transit, amenities crucial to livabilty are ample.
This mixture of housing options results in a mix of people whose income, culture, interests, activities etc, is more diverse than in districts where housing options are limited and uniform.
These neighborhoods exemplify a model of development that could be described as a "garden city" in which a variety of building types is woven into a landscape of mature trees and gardens.
We should not expand the UGB, but learn to work within it.
posted 3 years, 5 months ago
view in context