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Uneven development of the sustainable city: shifting capital in Portland, Oregon

Uneven development of the sustainable city: shifting capital in Portland, Oregon Portland, Oregon, is renowned as a paradigmatic “sustainable city.” Yet, despite popular conceptions of the city as a progressive ecotopia and the accolades of planners seeking to emulate its innovations, Portland’s sustainability successes are inequitably distributed. Drawing on census data, popular media, newspaper archives, city planning documents, and secondary source histories, we attempt to elucidate the structural origins of Portland’s “uneven development,” exploring how and why the urban core of this paragon of sustainability has become more White and affluent while its outer eastside has become more diverse and poor. We explain how a “sustainability fix”—in this case, green investment in the city’s core—ultimately contributed to the demarcation of racialized poverty along 82nd Avenue, a major north–south arterial marking the boundary of East Portland. Our account of structural processes taking place at multiple scales contributes to a growing body of literature on eco-gentrification and displacement and inner-ring suburban change while empirically demonstrating how Portland’s advances in sustainability have come at the cost of East Portland’s devaluation. Our “30,000 foot” perspective reveals systemic patterns that might then guide more fine-grained analyses of particular political-socio-cultural processes, while providing cautionary insights into current efforts to extend the city’s sustainability initiatives using the same green development model. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Urban Geography Taylor & Francis

Uneven development of the sustainable city: shifting capital in Portland, Oregon

Urban Geography , Volume 36 (4): 24 – May 19, 2015
24 pages

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References (94)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1938-2847
eISSN
0272-3638
DOI
10.1080/02723638.2015.1010791
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Portland, Oregon, is renowned as a paradigmatic “sustainable city.” Yet, despite popular conceptions of the city as a progressive ecotopia and the accolades of planners seeking to emulate its innovations, Portland’s sustainability successes are inequitably distributed. Drawing on census data, popular media, newspaper archives, city planning documents, and secondary source histories, we attempt to elucidate the structural origins of Portland’s “uneven development,” exploring how and why the urban core of this paragon of sustainability has become more White and affluent while its outer eastside has become more diverse and poor. We explain how a “sustainability fix”—in this case, green investment in the city’s core—ultimately contributed to the demarcation of racialized poverty along 82nd Avenue, a major north–south arterial marking the boundary of East Portland. Our account of structural processes taking place at multiple scales contributes to a growing body of literature on eco-gentrification and displacement and inner-ring suburban change while empirically demonstrating how Portland’s advances in sustainability have come at the cost of East Portland’s devaluation. Our “30,000 foot” perspective reveals systemic patterns that might then guide more fine-grained analyses of particular political-socio-cultural processes, while providing cautionary insights into current efforts to extend the city’s sustainability initiatives using the same green development model.

Journal

Urban GeographyTaylor & Francis

Published: May 19, 2015

Keywords: built environment; gentrification; suburbanization of poverty; sustainability fix; uneven development; urban sustainability

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