20-Minute Community on Portland’s inner fringe
For the past several months, I’ve been working with a community here on the edge of what is known as ‘inner Portland’. While many of Portland’s inner neighborhoods have redeveloped, many gentrifying in the process, this area hasn’t yet taken off — which is a blessing in some ways. There are structural and organizational reasons for this… The street grid kind of falls apart at this point on the city map. The area has been recast from agricultural to commercial to industrial to commercial again, resulting in a patchwork of zoning and building types. Also, the district high street – seemingly the center of the community – serves as the political boundary for 3 different neighborhood councils, leaving it a peripheral priority.
Portland is trying to be North America’s most walkable city by employing a vision for 20-minute communities in much of its current planning. There’s a lot of power in this idea, and if done right, it can be influential beyond the Rose City. The key though, as I see it, is not to embellish Portland’s thriving boutique districts, but instead to strengthen the places that are lacking structural riches. If the city can do this, it will have accomplished something that can inform planning everywhere.
The following is a slideshow I put together detailing some of the challenges we face in my district. I’m currently working on land use and general design recommendations, building largely on the opportunities that exist. Over the coming months, I’ll be sharing some of my work through SketchUp, drawings, writing, etc. Any thoughts, general or specific are encouraged.