Day: March 18, 2010

The Intersection of Preservation and Sustainability

Portland, Oregon is a city with a well-deserved reputation for livability and sustainable development.   I visited Portland late last week and was reminded again of how much this community can teach other American cities about building an environmental consciousness and offering transportation options that decrease reliance on the automobile. In touring the city with friends and colleagues, I saw vibrant historic neighborhoods around an active downtown.  But I also learned of  preservation battles that ended with perfectly good buildings being demolished – even though preservation was the sustainable alternative.  Preservationists in Portland often feel left out of the discussions – and the decisions – on questions of livability.  It shouldn’t be that way. While in Portland, I joined two colleagues in a discussion with Mike Francis, editorial board member at The Oregonian. We talked about the intersection of preservation and sustainability, as well as preservation’s ability to prime the pump for economic development. In a piece entitled, To Be Sustainable, Use What You Have, Francis makes the case for preservation as a key to economic …