Team Members: Jesse Simpson, Raiven Greenberg, Travis Meng, Gabriella Seltzer
In this project, we will examine the Portland Urban Growth Boundary, with an eye towards evaluative and instrumental questions. We will be continuing and advancing the work I did with Perri Pond in ENVS 220, The Portland Urban Growth Boundary and Perceptions of Housing Prices, which used census-tract based GIS data on median home values over time and a narrative analysis of proponents and opponents of the UGB. In this project we will revisit some of the descriptive and explanatory aspects of that project, examine how the UGB has been part of a larger urban strategy of gentrification, and analyze some potential solutions to the issue of the urban growth boundary and gentrification.
Growing cities across the U.S. are facing rapid changes and affordability crises’. This is occurring as a socio-economic reinversion and “return to the city” movement upends the city-suburb dynamics of the mid to late 20th century. This “revitalization” of the city has been couched in sustainability narratives of smart growth, as central cities tend to have significantly lower carbon emissions per capita than their surrounding suburbs. Smart growth interacts closely with other growth management policies such as UGBs, as UGBs are frequently justified for their efforts to make cities more compact, sustainable, and put a greater emphasis on protecting rural land. The densification caused by UGBs and other smart-growth policies has been criticized for causing issues of affordability and gentrification in cities like Portland, OR. Examining and evaluating the equity effects of UGBs in terms of housing prices and gentrification is vital to assessing smart growth as an urban development strategy.