Posted: April 24th, 2009 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: Cities, smart growth, top, Transportation | No Comments »
Notes from “Active Transportation in Portland,” a lecture by Portland Mayor Sam Adams, at the SFU City Program, Vancouver, earlier this evening.
- Stats: Population 570,00. 143 square miles, surrounded by urban growth boundary.
- Sam is the mayor but also the city’s transportation commissioner.
- Out of 143 square miles, 73 miles are pervious pavement, ie water flows through and into the ground rather than over.
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Posted: April 8th, 2009 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: Agriculture, Green Building, Housing, top, Transformational Change, Zero Waste | Tags: Community | 8 Comments »
A petition is presently circulating through my community; it opposes a proposed development on the grounds that it is “far too big for our island.” The Cape Roger Curtis Neighborhood Plan has its shortcomings, sure, but also its strengths—including space set aside for a seniors care facility, affordable housing, community food gardens and composting, an outdoor amphitheater, bike paths, $7 million dollars worth of amenities, and hundreds of acres of protected parkland. More than 75 percent of the development is within a five minute walk of its center crossroads, where a bus stop, general store, or car co-op lot could potentially be located.
The plan embodies a number of smart-growth principles, and in my mind it is a better choice than the alternative—no parkland, just a sprawling subdivision of 58 10-acre lots, each likely crowned with a single McMansion. Though the opponents of the plan insist that the land owners do not have the legal authority to build out that sprawl nightmare, the truth is, they do. And they might end up doing just that if the community says thumbs-down to the proposal currently on the table.
Those behind the “no” petition are running a well-organized campaign that includes phone tree work. So far more than 650 people have endorsed the document; in doing so they affirm that they are “For Bowen.” That doesn’t sit right with me, so I wrote this letter to the local paper this week.
If you call me on the phone and ask me if I am “for Bowen,” here’s what I’ll tell you.
I am for a Bowen where grandparents aren’t forced to leave when we can no longer provide them with care.
I am for a Bowen where young families can afford to live and give their kids all the rich experiences mine are presently enjoying.
I am for a Bowen that admits that saying “no” to everything is not an effective growth management strategy, and will in fact result in more of the ugly unplanned patchwork of McMansion sprawl that is currently marching across our landscape, and that we have somehow convinced ourselves represents treasured rural ambience.
I am for a pedestrian-friendly Bowen, where riding a bicycle is no longer a death-defying act.
I am for a Bowen where I don’t have to get behind the wheel every time I want to join friends for games night, grab a coffee, hit a garage sale, pick up a jug of milk, or attend a concert.
I am for a Bowen that preserves its green leafy heart by focusing growth in clustered settlements where residents can chat with neighbors when they want to, avoid them when they don’t.
I am for a Bowen where neighbors can potentially together generate clean energy to use in their homes and vehicles.
I am for a Bowen that protects its forests, lakes, streams, and wildlife, grows an ever-increasing proportion of its own food, and produces its own soil.
I am for a Bowen where change is not a threat but an opportunity.
I am for a Bowen that is all of these things and that is also resilient, vibrant, eclectic, and authentic.
I am for the Cape Roger Curtis Neighborhood Plan.