Portland is known primarily as a cool city, where people spend their 20s happily working in the service sector, drinking craft beer, eating organic food, and exploring a variety of unconventional lifestyle options. In short, Portland is weird. That’s not just an observation: it’s the city’s marketing strategy. Keep Portland Weird is a pretty common bumper sticker in the city (believe it or not, there are cars in Portland). Yet despite the non-conformist attitude of Portlanders, the municipal government seems bent on destroying everything fun about the city. read more »
When looking for a place to settle down, one might consider cities with active cultural scenes or intellectual communities. However, young people today are looking beyond those factors and moving to where the jobs are. Portland, for example, has a thriving social scene and is one of the nation’s leaders in attracting college graduates, but it ranks 40 as the best place for young adults. read more »
One of the starkest impacts of smart growth policies is the huge differentials in property prices that occur on virtually adjacent properties on either side of an urban growth boundary. read more »
Just in time for the winter Olympics, The Economist has rated Vancouver as the world’s most livable city. The Economist rates cities (presumably metropolitan areas or urban areas) “over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.” There is no doubt that Vancouver is in a setting that is among the most attractive in the world. read more »
Taking on the Portland mystique is not easy – and likely I'll find out again with my most recent piece: Picture-perfect Portland?
But I'd also like to take a Midwest perspective that shows some surprising things. Let's compare Portland to a similarly sized and less acclaimed Midwest city, Indianapolis. read more »
It has been a bad media week for New Urbanism.
“The day that New Urbanism Died?” was the headline of the St. Louis Urban Workshop blog that detailed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Whittaker Builders, developer of the “New Town at St. Charles,” a premier New Urbanist community located in the St. Louis exurbs (beyond the suburbs). read more »
One of these cities is the perennial Cinderella to urban planners; the other the ugly sister who always crashes the party. One is the well-planned "City of Roses" (no, not Pasadena), a bastion of mass-transit and controlled development along the Columbia River while its gargantuan sister to the south eschews all such enlightened principles.