Thursday, 19 November 2015

A smaller town feel

In 1994, Carl Abbott described Portland to have a “smaller town feel”. After being in Portland for four days, I can understand and completely agree with Abbott about the feeling of Portland. After field trips and several discussions on Portland, the “smaller town feel” can be shown through the very closely connected community, a safe urban atmosphere and strong community connections. I was most interested in how the planning system was controlled. A mayor of each district in Portland, closely works with NGO’s and community members to reach an agreement to provide the most sustainable sources. Rather than providing sources of transport or local community food halls that locals will not use.

Based on pre-tour expectations and understanding, Portland has established a comprehensive plan until 2030 including 19 state-wide goals which each district member assesses policy development based on the goals. During our PSU two day Portland Program, both Nancy Hales, Director of First Stop Portland and Steve Cohen, Manager of Food Policy and Programs, made it clear that the goals were vital to follow in any part of planning. I particularly didn't realise that the goals were used as such a strong focus and controlling point for decision making. I came to realise that the goals are a basis for long-term expressions. From my interpretation I found that all planning experts expanded their research when planning for an area. However, when they reviewed planning policies, the goals acted as the minimum standard and highlighted to me that everyone can plan several ideas but at the end of the planning they need to address each of the 19 goals. Therefore areas of planning would not be disregarded and it provides a broad interested across the community.

Chiara De Pellegrin

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