Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Just a matter of taking the first step

Prior to arriving at Portland, I had high expectations of their public transport infrastructure which very much interested and impressed me during the research project. Although the weather did not permit for a flawless first time experience riding on the light rails, the following days in Portland made it clear to me why their public transport system is considered to be of a high class standard. During the meeting at the TriMet office, the driving concept of “.. not about moving people, but rather about moving communities”, was a planning concept that did not really stand out to me during the research project. After now having experienced the public transport infrastructure myself, it is much more clear to understand and see the deliberate decisions made by TriMet in providing a public transport network that services communities rather than just individual people. Building on this however is the concept of “transparency”. Although I gained a basic understanding of the government’s ‘transparency’ during the research project, First Stop Portland consolidated this unique ideology of a governing body being completely vulnerable to its residents. What stood out the most to me however was the level of ‘transparency’ that actually takes place in governing Portland. The idea of ‘transparency’ as a tool to generate citizen trust through civic engagements such as convening stakeholders, developing agreements and creating shared goals across various sectors just appears to be a risky task that provides the government with a large beneficial result if executed correctly. However, the one lesson that I believe had most value behind it is the concept of risk “intentionality”. Nancy Hales’ argument of having an urban planning methodology that is essentially risk taking is an urban planning method that I believe has many merits to it, after all as she continued to argue, “inertia to change will reduce over time, it's just a matter of taking the first step”.

Jericho Perez

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