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Workshop Panel – K. Washington on far left

On a warm Phoenix, Arizona weekend in early April, LCG Analyst, Kate Washington, participated in the American Planning Association’s (APA) national conference, as a panelist on the Planning for a More Dynamic Population Track. In a session titled, “Building Equity With the Creative Class,” Kate presented wisdom on how neighborhood development and management can create equity for neighbors. The session compared the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon and the Creative Village in Orlando, Florida (not yet developed) as case studies. Rollins University professor of Environmental Studies, Bruce Stephenson, introduced the ways both Florida and Oregon have contributed to current planning dialogue. Where Florida innovated New Urbanism, Oregon has championed Smart Growth and where Florida has prioritized natural lands acquisition for ecological restoration, Oregon has added urban natural lands acquisition for urban core revitalization. Charles Kelley, an architect with ZGF, elaborated on Portland’s path from poor environmental quality to urban livability that emphasizes connectivity, character, community, and continuity. Kate expounded on the “Portland way”, touching upon the unique contributions of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and on Portland’s 95 city-sanctioned neighborhood associations in building civic capacity through training workshops and administrative support. Elisabeth Dang, chief planner with the city of Orlando, presented the development plan for a new neighborhood, Creative Village, which will be built on the site of a demolished stadium. Creative Village will be located in the Parramore neighborhood, which has seen significant disinvestment and diminished quality of life for its residents. This new district is designed with an eye to repairing damage done to the community by neglect and freeway construction.

Kate notes that her favorite part of the presentation involved exploring statistics on the Pearl District. “Given the Pearl’s expensive reputation, it’s easy to forget how a developer agreement with Hoyt Street Properties has created a more economically diverse neighborhood than might otherwise have been developed,” she shares.

Below are glimpse at some of the above-mentioned stats:

  • The Pearl started with about 600 people in the early 1990s and is now home to nearly 7,000 people
  • 1,000 people have moved to the neighborhood since 2010
  • 60% of Pearl households are renters, 23% own their homes, and 17% of homes are vacant
  • 11% of households live at or below the poverty level and 33% of households earn less than $25,000 per year
  • The Pearl’s median household income is $1,000 less than the city of Portland’s

About the 2016 Conference: More than 4,300 APA members and leaders and policy makers from planning, government, higher education, and more were drawn to the concentrated planning knowledge and expertise at the Phoenix Convention Center during APA’s 2016 National Planning Conference. To learn more, visit: www.planning.org/conference

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