Tuesday, August 18, 2009

US Portland the liveable city

Today we had an opportunity to watch the video on Portland and how it has approached the issue of sustainability through it's version of the Metropolitan Urban Limits or growth boundaries. Use the blog to contribute your reaction to the video and the thing(s) that struck you most about the approach and what Auckland and NZ could learn.

21 comments:

  1. I found the video to be very interesting and even uplifting. Portland, Oregon appears to have a battle going on between the common good and certain individuals idea of their rights, I can see both sides of the argument, but overall, I side with the common good (of course! lol). I think Auckland and NZ could definitely learn a lot from Portland's example, specifically in terms of the Urban Growth Boundary, Public Tranport Systems, a more Livable City, Specific Intensification, Low Cost Housing and Preservation of the natural beauty of our City's Surrounding area and that of New Zealand in general. The example Keith Hall showed two classes ago about the terrible recent development in Wanaka that just carves up the surrounding area and builds a one way in one way out gentrified gated community for all intents and purposes is a glaring wake up call.

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  2. Cam Wallace 4335502August 21, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    I found it amazing that the citizens of portland voted against motorway systems, I could not see that happening in Auckland unfortunately due to a lack of adequate examples of effective PT here and misinformation presented as facts by the motoring lobby and many local and central govt politicians (see City of Cars Ep. 1,2 & 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCKDBHT3i74).

    It was also amazing to see the level of political engagement the citizens have with local govt in Portland. Here the only time we see demonstrations appears to be when Maori mobilize to oppose a policy or decision. I think that the level of apathy amongst Aucklander's sends a message to those in power that the status quo is acceptable and the current ways of development are acceptable. I think Auckland could benefit from a move away from community boards which seem largely ineffective to more citizen initiated groups such as ratepayers associations or incorporated socities (like the Volcanic Cones Preservation Society) which, if organised well and garner enough support, could become significant enough to lobby council for change.

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  3. It was interesting to see how Portland developed measure 37 and went from one of the most tightly controlled land-use planning cities to one of the most lenient. It was definitly a battle between individual property rights and the common good, which in the end, the common good won the vote. However I am suprised that measure 37 went through in the first instance, considering that Cornelius had to overcome many hardships to increase their growth boundary for justified economic and social reasons. Perhaps people let measure 37 go through because they were weary of the long term control of land use (for example the protests calling the council socialists).

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  4. The main aspect that struck me about the Portland video, was the struggle to find a balance between individual property rights, and protecting the environment for the common good. I was amazed to see the external effects of land-use planning, in that farmers outside of the Urban Growth Boundary had no rights at one stage to use their land in any other way but for farming.

    Like Cam, I too was also amazed at how involved the citizens of Portland were in decisions made by local government. With the protests seen on the video, this seemed like a far cry from the engagement that we see from New Zealand Citizens, and yet we have similar environments in New Zealand that too need protecting.

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  5. Tsz Ning CHUNG 4648015August 24, 2009 at 1:29 AM

    The first question that came to mind for me was what made Portland, Oregon’s Urban Growth Boundary work in terms of pristine, fertile agricultural land conservation and the achievement of a more intensified and compact urban form as compared with the Metropolitan Urban Limit used in New Zealand. I attributed the difference to the mobilising power of the grass-root citizens in pressuring the passing of land-use legislations to protect their fertile soils and rich valley and the coherent management of the Urban Growth Boundary spanning across the 25 cities of Portland by the one Council Metro. If New Zealand were to have a single Council to manage the Metropolitan Urban Limits then perhaps adhoc Greenfield consumption such as that in Albany and the peripherals for residential development may deter the horizontal expansion approach of New Zealand in managing urban growth. In realising the importance of integrating transport with land-use with the LGAAA and Proposed Plan Change 6 to the Regional Policy Statement in the successful achievement of more compact urban forms, New Zealand could reallocate funding for roading projects such as the Victoria Park Underpass to funding for development and improvement to passenger transit network of rails and buses (and maybe even light-rails). Inevitably, the question of how much should the individual compromise in terms of property rights for the common good of natural and physical resource protection arises. The common good will have to prevail if humans acknowledge the need for the preservation of the life-supporting capacity of the rural hinterland to provide food and that a variety of natural landscapes and environment are to be left for future generations.

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  6. I found that the portland video provided a microcosm for a wider debate happening world wide in regards to private property rights vs the collective common good. To me, Measure 37 epitomises the selfishness that seems to be imbeeded within contemporary capitalist notions of private property rights. In a New Zealand context the ideals behind measure 37 are being considered with a possible amendment in the works, to section 85 of the RMA which would make compensation payable in regards to regulataion.

    In regards to the MUL I believe that Portland's example has been successful largely due to the fact that it was done 'pre sprawl' in the 70s much earlier than in Auckland. As a result they were able to achieve a much more compact urban form. In Auckland the MUL in my opinion came too late, with the limit being effectively placed on an already sparwled, low density urban area. What lesson could Auckland/New Zealand learn from this?? Obviously the answer is we need to learn the art of foresight and generally pull our heads out of the sand and start looking further into the future and rid ourselves of our narrow minded focus on the short term.

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  7. I definitely think that Auckland could learn a lot about urban sustainability from Portland’s approach to growth management through the Metropolitan Urban Limits, in addition to their approach to Liveable City and Sustainable Transport. Portland’s Metropolitan Urban Limit has been successful due to their single council approach to managing growth and the single comprehensive Regional Plan. Once the Super City Council is established, Auckland could benefit from the growth management experiences of Portland.

    One of the most interesting facts mentioned in the video is that changes can be made within 30 years! Therefore, it is important as a citizen to get involved in issues you are passionate about as although processes do take time, change can be made in one person’s lifetime, an example being Portland’s citizens move to vote against the motorway in their city.

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  8. In Porland, there is the attractive, liveable, pedestrian-friendly city centre and the protected farmlands outside of the urban limits, with farmers who produce food for people in the city to enjoy. The video gave insight into the frustration that those who live just outside of the urban limits felt - especially to do with their property rights. To them, the countryside is being exploited by city dwellers - those who drive there and expect it to look the same everytime.

    Despite the conflict, Portland has shown that urban limits are effective if you stick to them. The city today is one of the world's most liveable. Auckland can definitely learn from them by being stringent with the current MULs.

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  9. I believe Portland, in particular the Portland community had a great understanding of what was required to achieve urban sustainability. This I believe is portrayed in the developments such as the urban growth boundary, the public transport system and the low cost housing (sustainability includes the economic well being of people). I do believe however that this 'understanding' of urban sustainability is none more highlighted then through the community voting against motor way systems. This to me shows that the people of Portland understood the importance of public transport however also the importance of urban intensification and growth nodes with the long distance trips in the motor vehicle not been necessary nor appropriate if urban sustainability is to be achieved.

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  10. The use of MULs allows Portland citizens to enjoy both city and country living without long distance of travel. However, to me, MULs is not considered as a win-win approach. It is not fair to sacrifice some people's property right/human right for everybody's common good. Who has the power to determine where the boundary should be drawn? Who has the power to determine which one should be sacrificed? If the decision is made by governors, will it be the same case, if those outside boundary properties belong to them?

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  11. I disagree with Amanda that property rights are an intrinsic human right. I also personally dont believe that property owners should have the unfettered right to carve up their land up as they choose. Should an individual be able to make monetary gains at the expense of an urban area and all those that live there? That seems unfair to me, but it comes down to personal beliefs.

    For those of you that noted how apathetic Aucklanders are when compared to Portland citizens why do you think that is? I have no idea why we seem to except what were told should happen by politicans and lobbying groups. Maybe some of the blame lies with our media not really informing us from an impartial standpoint much of the time and generally sensationalising trivial crap like fights at school first 15 games over more important things.

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  12. Personally the distinct MUL boundary was aesthetically unpleasant, on the other hand was very stunning. It is amazing how such limits were strictly kept, highlighting the importance of holistic planning. It was clearly portrayed by the video that this MUL had its negative and positive factors. The positive point I liked most about the MUL was the farmers market. I think NZ has opportunities to do this too, there are many suburbs in Auckland that are within close boundaries to farmland, for example Botany Downs is close to Whitford.
    I guess the questions ends up to how much of personal property rights need to be sacrificed over common good? Which side is the government suppose to take if this was to happen in New Zealand? Can there be a win-win situation? I guess it is inevitable that one needs to sacrifice over the other, and Portland chose to develop its city taking in consideration to the natural the ecology heading towards achieving sustainably.

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  13. I found the Portland video very interesting, and believe that many things can be adopted here in NZ. I like the idea of citizens being really involved in the decisions that are being made, because really it is those people that are effected. I believe that NZ needs to be more involved and interested in local govt decisions, because at the moment it seems a lot of people don't really care or know how to get involved.

    The conflict between personal rights and the common good when it came to Measure 37 was an interesting one. The decision to allow landowners to file claims for compensation for decreased property value caused by regulations is something that I would like to study further. Although it is evident of the pros and cons of both sides, I tend to go with the common good.

    It is Portland's approach to public transport, affordable housing and urban growth, that Nz should aim for.

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  14. I find Portland a very interesting city. Throughout my studies I seem to have come across it a number of times regarding different issues.

    There seems to be a strong sense of community pride in this city illustrated by the high interest of its members regarding Measure 37.
    This highlights what we learnt in law last semester regarding property rights.

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  15. Portland is a city “create sustainable environments by developing and advancing innovative transportation solutions” The alternative transport programme is a good example for elsewhere in the world. And I definitely think Auckland should learn from it and implement the advantages. Portland lunches a transportation project called SmartTrips which aims to provide alternative transport options and promote public transports. It wants to make sure everyone who lives, works or runs a business in Portland knows about all the options they have for getting around. By choosing to walk, bike, take transit, and carpool Portlanders increase fitness, save money, reduce traffic congestion, and help maintain a liveable environment. in term of promoting bicycle uses, the city provides multi options (include facilities to prevent bicycle theft and damage) to solve the cyclists needs in relation to encourage bicycle uses.

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  16. This video was very interesting and, like Emma, I have come across it many times, particularly in my research for the assignments for this paper.

    It was very interesting to learn that it is possible to prevent rapid urban sprawl and although many cities to aspire to restraining it, the effects of actually achieving it. For instance, that the rising cost of living caused by the city boundaries and lack of space, making it impossible for some sectors of society to even live in the city at all was very thought provoking. Hopefully Portland can find a balance between the two extremes of no urban growth and extreme urban sprawl.

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  17. The Portland DVD demonstrated that to be successful the inclusive approach to planning requires an overall flexible long-term approach ass well as catering for the citizens of present and near future requirements. Furthermore, in order for development and planning to succeed the authorities and planners both need to include the public from the beginning and throughout the consultative process. This will enable the different parties to better understand the planning procedure and outcomes, and also foster confidence in the civic leadership and democratic system. I think that the Long Term Council Community Plan required under the Local Government Act by all the local authorities (while basically a financial document) achieves medium term planning aims with 50 year broad city-wide strategies being achieved through Vision documents, i.e. Manukau City is undertaking ‘Tomorrows Manukau 2060’.

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  18. As a surveyor I enjoyed the historical maps of American towns. Mainly grid layouts, these established roading systems have had an ongoing effect on future land use patterns. Fortunately the grid system is comparatively most flexible and adaptable in the consideration of proposed later growth management and development.

    Comparing the three North American cities of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver’s sustainable outcomes reveals that the majority of the goals are similar, e.g. less emphasis on private transport, and no motorways. However, the systems and procedures to achieve goals may only somewhat as a result of a combination of each towns individual historical societal approach and the current planning and political pressures and solutions available. A further comparison of the three towns’ planning with that of Houston reveals much greater differences in planning approaches. This demonstrates that generally in a democracy each society develops a planning approach to reflect the distinct individual collective nature of its people – i.e. conservative or otherwise.

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  19. there is Master Recycler Program adopted by the council, which there are more than 500 people have graduated from the program, volunteering more than 9,000 hours. in my opinion it is a very effective way of public education on sustainable waste management, which New Zeanaldn should adopted. recycling helps Recycling is a global tool to achieve waste minimization. Waste minimization in general helps protect the public health and the environment by reducing the health risks associated with the release of pollutants to the environment; protects natural resources for future generations by cutting wastes and conserving resources; benefits the businesses by reducing operating costs. There are increasing acknowledge on recycling in auckland, there starts to have recycling bins in the public spaces, such as our school.

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  20. The case study of Portland provides as good example of measures in the planning process to contain urban sprawl and create a compact, liveable city. I think that the video was intriguing as it illustrated the views of politicians, residents, developers and farmers which highlighted the struggle occurring in Portland to protect individual property rights and protecting the environment and finding a balance between the two.
    In a New Zealand context the Metropolitan Urban Limits are a measure to contain growth in Auckland now a not debated much (except Long Bay, North Shore dispute) will be more contentious as the population rises.

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  21. I like Portland as example for showing a good planning for urban sustainability-compact, liveable city. Also more concerned for us, it is Portland's transportation solution which is promoted to use the public transportations. I know New Zealand should take more focuss on that as it is the third largest number of private cars per family currently. And they should also pay attention to their public transportation, thinking how can make more effort transferring from the privatisation of the bus to public. Just controlling most public ones, there will be possible to contribute and regulate the good connection and access network of public transportation. Just like that, public transports could be more attractive for people to use instead of private cars.

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