Arnold Cogan, FAICP, a COC Founding Principal, is a member of a bi-state committee planning a symposium to discuss new initiatives and strategies to create urban places that are robust, resilient and renewable. Fellows in Oregon and Washington who represent the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Architects, and the American Society of Landscape Architecture, the professional organizations of planners, architects and landscape architects, will host the half-day event prior to the joint APA Chapter conference in Portland on October 19, 2011.
Forty thought leaders are invited from the two states including planning and design professionals, environmentalists, economists, politicians, activists, developers and communication specialists. The focus will be on political and economic gridlock affecting how we deal with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, critical impacts on natural resources due to population growth and rampant consumption, climate change that will likely result in large numbers of “climate refugees” moving to the Northwest, political views that have produced a polarized governance atmosphere, and an exploding system of social networking that fuels the fires of controversy. Participants at the symposium are being asked to examine these significant challenges and suggest new initiatives that can be implemented immediately and on an ongoing basis.
For more information, see the Web site of the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association, http://www.oregonapa.org/CascadiaCollaborative
Tags:American Planning Association
, Climate Change
The Global Warming Commission is seeking public comment on recommendations it adopted last fall as an Interim Roadmap to 2020. Help shape the state’s response to climate change!
Join us Thursday at a Portland-Multnomah County hosted event that will be led by Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen and Portland’s Mayor Sam Adams. Join other participants to discuss and critique parts of the Roadmap of particular interest to you in a collaborative process.
June 9, 6 – 7:30 pm, Multnomah County Building, County Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Blvd, Portland, Oregon, 97214.
The Oregon Global Warming Commission is a 25-member commission created in 2007 by the Oregon legislature. It is charged with helping coordinate state and local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and making sure the state meets its climate goals. In 2007, Oregon adopted greenhouse gas reduction goals which include cutting greenhouse gases 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; and achieving a 75 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.
“We hope Oregonians will seize this opportunity to help shape the State’s strategies for reducing greenhouse gases,” said Angus Duncan, Chair of the Commission. “The interim recommendations touch nearly every aspect of our lives in this state, from the cars we drive and homes we live in to how we manage our farms and forests. Oregonians can speak to these ideas in the evening workshops or by responding to the online survey.”
The Commission is asking Oregonians to take an online survey to provide feedback on the Roadmap to 2020 and on the state’s work to shrink the state’s greenhouse gas footprint. The survey can be taken at:
Feedback from the survey will be used to inform the Commission’s future work, and will be provided to elected officials and policymakers working on a response to climate change.
For more information on the Oregon Global Warming Commission and the Roadmap to 2020, please visit www.keeporegoncool.org.
Hope to see you there!
, Climate Change
, Land Use Planning
, Least Cost Planning
, Urban Design
Thanks, Jim Zehren, for this great synopsis:
Patrick Condon, professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Vancouver, British Columbia, spoke today at an open-to-the-public brown bag event at Metro on the subject of achieving reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG) through particular approaches to urban form. Condon’s presentation was based on his recently published book, Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post-Carbon World (Island Press 2010) www.islandpress.org.
Condon prefaced his review of the seven rules described in his book with some overarching points. He stated his conclusion that we can achieve GHG reductions of at least 50 percent through changes in land use patterns alone. He then said that at the heart of the inability of North American metro areas to achieve GHG solutions through urban form is the “silos” problem. By that he meant the phenomenon of many specialized stakeholders and others who affect the development and redevelopment of our urban areas failing to see the big picture and to take collaborative actions in ways that achieve the common good. He also said he believes that fractal geometry is a good model for understanding the form of successful cities and urban regions.
Condon spent the most time discussing the first rule articulated in his book, which is: “Restore the streetcar city.” Regarding this rule, he was quick to emphasize that it is not necessarily the use of the streetcar per se that we need to restore, but rather the land use-transportation connection that existed in our cities during the pre-automobile streetcar era. He referred to Portland as a good example of a streetcar city prior to World War II. And though he lauded the City of Portland for beginning to rebuild its streetcar system, he lamented that Portland’s streetcars move at such a slow speed.
Condon explained that the remaining six of his seven rules are essentially extensions of the first rule. Those remaining rules address, respectively, the need for: an interconnected street system; services, transit and schools located within a five-minute walk; jobs close to affordable housing; a diversity of housing types; a linked system of natural areas and parks; and lighter, greener, cheaper and smarter infrastructure.
Condon concluded by stating that there is an urban form that can be successful in achieving our GHG goals, if we restore that urban form as we build and rebuild our cities and suburbs. He noted that it took North American metro areas about 50 years to deviate from that workable urban form, and we now have about 50 years to restore it.
In response to questions, Condon agreed that the on-going lack of activity in the real estate sector in the US economy poses a real problem for achieving our GHG goals if redeveloping our cities is a primary solution. He also commented that his seven rules do not address the need for local food security, which he believes is important. He agreed that getting transportation planners and traffic engineers to do their work consistent with achievement of our adopted GHG goals remains a major impediment, and stated that they must change their approach within this decade if we are going to achieve our GHG goals within the 50-year timeframe we are facing.
Condon also agreed that finding a way to convince the education community to reconfigure schools and school sites to help achieve GHG goals also is a difficult challenge, particularly given the political and governance aspects involved. Finally, he repeated his own question from earlier in his remarks regarding what Sandy Boulevard in northeast Portland would look like as a “streetcar city” element in the city today if the eastbound MAX from downtown Portland had been routed along Sandy rather than along I-84 and had been a faster version of Portland’s streetcar rather than light rail.
For more, see the book!
, Greenhouse Gas
, land use
, Sustainable Communities
, Urban Design
Great event last night at COC. COC and Carlson Communications hosted a welcome Leslie Carlson event and a presentation by Renee Lertzman, PhD. Renee spoke on the Myth of Apathy: Psychosocial Dimensions of Climate Change. She is a Visiting Fellow with the Portland State University Center for Public Humanities and communications consultant, and writes about environmental issues from an psychosocial perspective. Dr. Lertzman’s work has been featured in the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog; The Ecologist and as an invited blogger for environmental communications sites such as the World Wildlife Fund UK’s Identity Campaign work and the UK Green Awards. (see links below)
The 20 participants represented diverse sectors of non-profit, business and public agency and share a common interest in how to communicate effectively about climate change and what the implications are for effective engagement strategies.
Renee asks us to consider – not at the preclusion of other strategies – but in association with them – holding space to recognize people’s diverse and sometimes conflicting emotions and reactions to climate change. I believe that out of individuals’ unique perspective and innate creativity, powerful personal and social transformation will arise if and as supported by clear invitation. Douglas Tsoi of Partners for a Sustainable Washington County noted that many of the solutions offered for climate change action do not currently reach a sufficiently broad audience and therefore could continue to fall short of needed goals if we aren’t more deliberate about listening to many diverse perspectives and soliciting their ideas for creative and meaningful solutions.
Our group only got into the tip of the topic this evening. Questions and comments were expressed about youth involvement and associated strategies, the role of the personal realm and church/spiritual settings; how to allow people to express fear, loss, anxiety and a host of other emotions without leaving them there; the need to identify a common course of action; and moving to solutions.
Please let us know what you think and whether you are interested in a further conversation. And thanks again to Dr. Lertzman. This is definitely a conversation worth having.
Links to some of Renee’s articles.
New York Times: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/shrinking-the-climate-problem
The Ecologist: http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/other_comments/269433/the_myth_of_apathy.html
Find Leslie Carlson at www.carlson-communications.com. Renee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.