I find it fascinating that in response to an article about economic development, a male planner felt entirely comfortable telling me that the only thing of value about me is how developed my breasts and vagina are. In fact, he seemed downright proud about that observation, so much so that he signed his email to me with his company logo, telephone number and web address. What precipitated this completely unprofessional sexist email outrage that I quoted exactly in the headline? [Read more…] about The only feminist development I’d like to see is on your chest and between your legs…
You can look at commercial district revitalization in two ways: The first way, which is the common way, and unfortunately not the best way, is to hatch a scheme to get rid of everything that is under-performing and replace it with something else. Bulldoze it, and start over with a blank slate. This approach to economic revitalization is the cornerstone of many well-intentioned plans — the wholesale replacement of entire existing commercial ecosystems. It is also an approach that values typical male attributes: valuing big, valuing new, valuing the deal. This is truly a shame since these districts often have wonderful businesses, owned by locals, which serve as non-traditional anchors pulling from wide trade areas. [Read more…] about What’s so feminine about good revitalization of a commercial district?
Portland is a planner’s mecca. Or is it? Visitors to the city are treated to postcard worthy scenes of light rail trains, streetcars and even an aerial tram gliding past renovated brick warehouses and gleaming glass towers. But at the regional level the picture is not so perfect. [Read more…] about The Commons Concept – A Strategy to Restore Balance to the Portland Region
During the summer of 2013, my husband and I took a very uncharacteristic vacation to a spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. I say “uncharacteristic” because a spa in the desert at the height of summer would not normally be at the top of our list of vacation destinations. [Read more…] about A Wall, No Matter How Pretty, Is Still…a Wall
Yes, this is my autographed copy of the High Cost of Free Parking!
I had the pleasure of serving on a panel with one of my professional crushes, Donald Shoup, [Read more…] about It’s Official, I’m a Parking Groupie!
Since the 1990s, Portland has not had parking minimums in much of the city, from the downtown core to more traditional neighborhoods with single family housing. Portland has been very proud of their no parking minimum. Portland has trumpeted this zoning policy as a shining example of why Portland is the City That Works!
Up until recently, it was very rare for a residential developer to build anything without off-street parking. Finally though, that is changing. [Read more…] about Portlandia: Milquetoast Bureau of Planning Edition
When he got his start in the grocery business with Fred Meyer decades ago, Gary Slabaugh said he knew EVERY property owner that surrounded the store where he worked. He knew them, their families, their kids’ birthdays. Part of managing the store was participating in, and being a member of, the surrounding community. Smart business if you are a retailer and property owner. [Read more…] about Retail, REITs and Cannibalization
A friend of mine used to tell a story about a furniture maker who could not grasp the idea of architects preparing as-built drawings after a building was constructed. He wondered why buildings were not just built as drawn instead – as his furniture was. This comment has stuck with me for years. It comes to mind, in a sense, when I think about the constant struggles cities and communities face in order to accommodate growth. So I ask: [Read more…] about What if?
The city of Portland, Ore. and IBM have seen the future and it’s virtual.
The two have teamed up to develop a virtual “SimCity” to better understand how communities work, according to a press release. The computer simulation allows city leaders to see how the various systems, including the economy, housing, education, public safety, transportation, healthcare/wellness, government services and utilities, work in conjunction. [Read more…] about IBM Helps Portland Go Virtual