Thursday, 19 November 2015

Seeing is believing

My expectations of Portland were largely let down on our first night when the metro line became inundated and greatly lengthened our trip to over 2 hours. However after subsequent trips  on the metro and street cars they are convenient and easy to use. The layout and general make of the transit lines make for an easy way to traverse Portland.
The reality of Portland’s planning from the pre tour project to actually seeing it unfold was amazing. Being shown land by Nancy and then having it relate back to the 19 planning goals really depicted the direction Portland looked to take. This was evident in the mostly bike and pedestrian dominated city centre and how cars actually gave way. Hearing a city is bicycle friendly is one thing, but actually experiencing it in person was an awesome experience. 

Cycling is not just popular because of how greatly it is looked after at the local government, but because it is ingrained in the cities culture. One other expectation I had was that there  would be more involvement by the LCDC and Metro in First Stop Portland, however it was well represented.

The first planning goal talks about citizen involvement, and until speaking with Nancy and Charlie Hales I did not give it much credit. However, the way the city listens and responds to its residents overwhelmed me personally. Listening and planning for residents desires was something that I only saw in the tsunami ravaged areas of Sendai. This form of listening and responsive planning is very rare and was not something that i expected to that extent. Portland greatly exceeded both my planning and cultural expectations as a city that is heavily involved in the planning process, with a completely transparent local government.

Jack Francis

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