PERSPECTIVE FROM PORTLAND AND
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Summary of a Workshop
Dominic A. Brose, Rapporteur
Committee on Regional Approaches to Urban Sustainability:
A Focus on Portland
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This summary report and the workshop on which it was based were supported by the Portland State University and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL APPROACHES TO URBAN SUSTAINABILITY: A FOCUS ON PORTLAND
Robert Bennett (Chair), Executive Director, EcoDistricts
Susan Anderson, Director, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
John Cleveland, President, Innovation Network for Communities
Glen T. Daigger, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CH2M Hill, Inc.
Jonathan H. Fink, Vice President for Research & Strategic Partnerships, Portland State University
Jim Lester, President, Houston Advanced Research Center
Colin Sears, Vice President of Business Development, Greater Portland, Inc.
Lillian M. Shirley, Director, Multnomah County Health Department
Marina Moses, Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Dominic Brose, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Jennifer Saunders, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Emi Kameyama, Program Associate, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Dylan Richmond, Research Assistant, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
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Preface and Acknowledgments
For more than 40 years, the Portland Metropolitan Region has been a national leader in urban policies and investments intended to revitalize the central city and adjacent neighborhoods, preserve the environment, improve equity, and make the city more economically competitive and livable. Portland has been both emulated as path breaking and discounted as overly idiosyncratic. Among the elements contributing to Portland’s success have been strong public-private partnerships, a culture of planning, and a willingness to implement diverse ideas generated by federal, state, and local agencies, academics, and the private sector. Regionally, Portland benefits from its location in the middle of the progressive Cascadia Corridor, stretching from Vancouver, British Columbia, to San Francisco, California. In May 2013, the National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program held a workshop organized by the Committee on Regional Approaches to Urban Sustainability: A Focus on Portland to examine issues relating to sustainability and human-environment interactions in the Portland metropolitan region. Topics addressed included the role of land-use restrictions on development, transportation innovations, and economic and social challenges. The speakers at the workshop used examples from Portland and the greater Pacific Northwest region to explore critical questions in finding pathways to urban sustainability.
This report has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The statements made are those of the rapporteur and do not necessarily represent positions of the workshop participants as a whole, the planning committee, the Science and Technology for Sustainability program, or the National Academies. This workshop summary is the result of substantial effort and collaboration among several organizations and
individuals. We wish to extend a sincere thanks to each member of the planning committee for their contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project. The project would not have been possible without financial support from Portland State University and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Michael Armstrong, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Christopher Hendrickson, Carnegie Mellon University; Douglas Kelbaugh, University of Michigan; Herminia Palacio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Amanda Pitre-Hayes, City of Vancouver. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution.
Dominic A. Brose
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