I help lead one of America’s cities — Portland, Ore. It is known for being a well-planned city. It’s not. At least, not as well as we want it to be. And not as well-planned as every American city must be.
When I talk about planning, I’m not just referencing plotting spots on a map where new bikeways will run, or where new business districts will pop up. Instead, I’m talking about how to understand the specific and real human challenges we face, and then how to establish priorities that are shared by community members and government. This is what creates a real playbook to guide future decisions.
Our challenges? Our historic approach to planning has widened the economic and academic disparities between white and non-white Portlanders. In addition, and until recently, only 54 percent of our high school students graduated on time. And increasingly, global and national decisions impact our main streets as much or more than local city council decisions.
I believe that all cities face these challenges, too, and I believe that a different approach to planning can help fix t... Read more