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Michael - that's probably the model that the American Society of Landscape Architects prepared as part of a study they did on capping I-405 back in 1998. I had no idea the model still existed.
Brian: the Pearl has loads of low income housing (The Sitka, the Yards, the Ramona, Pearl Court, Lovejoy station...) and more is under development. The median income for the Pearl is actually lower than the City as a whole. Granted, these buildings are not homeless shelters, but the (widely held) perception that the Pearl is exclusively an upper class playground is completely wrong. Otherwise - great article!
@Glenn, I assure that they're not, at least in the US. I got my driver's license in Oregon last year, at the age of 26, and I was amazed at how easy the test was. It took about 15 minutes, in an automatic, an didn't even require proving that I could parallel park, or drive outside of quiet suburban streets. I could easily afford a car, but prefer spending money on other things. I mostly cycle, walk, or take the bus.
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Great article, Brian. I was depressed to read a post in bikeportland (bikeportland!) this week, arguing against the current zoning codes' lack of parking minimums. I really hope that the City doesn't make a retrograde move on this issue, just when we're starting to see developers embrace an option not available in most other US cities.
The quote above about the Portland zoning code is somewhat selective. The full paragraph reads: "The Central Commercial (CX) zone is intended to provide for commercial development within Portland's most urban and intense areas. A broad range of uses is allowed to reflect Portland's role as a commercial, cultural and governmental center. Development is intended to be very intense with high building coverage, large buildings, and buildings placed close together. Development is intended to be pedestrian-oriented with a strong emphasis on a safe and attractive streetscape." And quite right too. Portland's central city is at the heart of a metropolitan region in which more than 2 million people. It should be dense. Cities are about interaction and exchange, and this happens best when the land is used most intensely. I'd argue that the biggest problem with Old Town/Skidmore/Chinatown/Yamhill collectively face is the lack of economic activity in them. There just aren't enough people living and working in those areas. Development along the lines of the Brewery Blocks or the ZGF building would do wonders for these areas. Density is also great for the environment. (What's the greenest city in the US? New York, a direct result of how dense it is.) While it's a shame that so many historic buildings have been lost and turned into parking lots, covering the whole of downtown with CS zoning rather than CX zoning isn't going to bring them back. It's an interesting premise that "high rise" zoning prevents investment on vacant lots and low rise buildings, but I'd like to see some evidence of it. While I regret the loss of certain historic buildings in Portland, including in recent years, I think the blame lies at how weak historic building preservation laws are in the US; not at a City Government that believes in development in the center of the city.
Some great and deserving projects. I was surprised though that Mercy Corps didn't win anything.
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Oct 25, 2010