Ideas | Blog

10, 2013

PORTLAND CLASSICAL TEMPERAMENT

THE AUTHOR/PHOTOGRAPHY: DANDAN LI

Portland located in the northwest of USA, Seattle and Vancouver are extremely close, is  also built near the Pacific with similar climate, developed economy and numerous population, together forming the metropolis circle near the Canada-America border. Although the three city have similarities, once experiencing, we can clearly feel obvious difference in temperaments, with unique charm for each of them.

Seattle -- prosperous Pacific Metropolis with vitality, the city skylines full of rhythm.

Portland -- Classic warm Rose City, rational intensive urban development space.

Vancouver -- Group type city with Big Area sort , livable city with numerous parks.

Portland, also known as the City Of Roses, the author transitorily traveled this classical and beautiful city situated in the northwest of America, harboring the general mood of pilgrimage last year. It shows a unique and elegant temperament among most modern and busy cities in America. It is not tourism destination city domestic tourists knew, but respected for its successful urban planning model. In the past 30 years, the population of Portland increased by 50%, while its land rose only 2%, the  ‘Urban Growth Boundary’ firstly created by it successfully control urban sprawl.

Just from the noisy extraordinary desert Las Vegas to Portland, green full of eyes, deeply breathing the moist air, as if coming to another country. This is America, all seemingly individualities are incompatible roles, while coexist under the same roof for many years. Driving from the periphery of cities through the forested Road into the city, you can feel the construction density differences obviously, and this is the ‘urban growth boundary’ effect.

The Marriot hotel we have lived in is located not far from the peripheral downtown, quiet and elegant, the hotel offers a bike rental service, which is convenient for visitors to ride the tour. The center of Portland includes the Pearl District and Chinatown District, one side by mountains, Willamette River  and Columbia River intersects in the northeast of Portland, there are many bridge across the river above, which is the product of the industrialization era, that’s why Portland is called ‘city of bridge’.

Riverside is a beautiful park, there’re  traditional handicraft market activities on Saturday, very lively. Not far from there, is the bustling commercial district, although commercial scale is not large, the price here is very satisfactory, for Oregon is one of several free states in the United States.

Previously, we knew the public transportation support of Portland. As expected, it’s not a wise choice to drive into the downtown, for the downtown streets were narrow, often is
a single line, and only a private driveway, but most traffic is for public rail car and bicycle. It’s not hard to try to find a parking place, while the price if high compared with the 2 dollars one day or 5 dollars 14 days’ travel unimpeded Transit plan, which is obviously more convenient and cheaper.

In 2011, ‘Portland Mall Revitalization’ project was awarded the excellence prize by ASLA, which is designed by agency ZGF in Portland, it wins the recognition for providing a perfect public transportation system, successfully portraying the city business district public space, and the continuation of the cultural intention. It’s the implementation of this project that regained the vitalities of the central region of Portland.

There has been always such a evaluation in the planning industry :’for the number of vehicle increasing, Los Angeles and Portland have different responses. ’ Los Angeles is to widen the road, but the result of the road expansion leads to more traffic problems.  Once the Los Angeles government has always hoped to be able to maintain a relatively low density of the city out of congestion, with much land and few people and the residential site and working place far apart. People’s travel distance was forced to increase, and the buses and subways are not convenient in many places of Los Angeles, So people can only choose to drive their own cars. But the Portland government plans to make the road more 'crowded', which not only makes the drivers turn to other traffic tools, the city also therefore have the better downtown. ‘Portland becomes the most popular city in the United States’, about 4000 to 5000 people use the bicycle as a travel tool for the whole year in the downtown. Portland is committed to providing continuous network of walking, in order to improve the short walk trip proportion, and to improve the accessibility and safety of transit.

The downtown region of the Portland is not very big, a few blocks away, then no longer so exciting, even can feel some deserted. In addition to a number of fine restaurants and art galleries, as well as some updated residential apartments, there’re also mixed with some old factory building, signs of decline of the city are faintly visible. However, all we can see is the efforts of the government made to reactivate the urban vitality.

Portland park system is very mature. Not far from downtown, is a few distinctive park. Among which Washington Garden is the place that Portland people are very proud of, and the Rose Garden is currently the international base rosette test site which wins the reputation of ‘the rose city’ for Portland, attractive and romantic, adding more aura for the already elegant city. In addition, the there are exquisite Japanese gardens and Chinese gardens, although not original, also bringing other exotic and tourist interests for Portland, writing the culture texture of the city.

The United States and Europe are experiencing some recession of economic and industry, and also bearing the embarrassment of some urban function recession even bankruptcy. While Portland, rational and positive, with the joint efforts of the government, the public and the planning workers, reradiating unique graceful bearing, which is worth to be figured out by us.