Making Sense of Place Film Series A documentary film and educational outreach project launched by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Making Sense of Place – Portland: Quest for the Livable City
A documentary film and educational outreach project produced as a collaboration of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Northern Light Productions.
For decades, the city of Portland, Oregon prohibited sprawl in farmland at the periphery, with density and transit within an urban growth boundary – and then confronted a backlash that challenged the system to its core.
After the passage of Oregon's landmark land use planning system in 1973, Portland embarked on a grand experiment in city planning: an urban growth boundary containing development within a 22-square-mile area, protecting surrounding farmland and open space; a regional governance system spanning 24 municipalities and three counties; and an ambitious system of light rail and streetcars to service more dense, compact, mixed-use urban form. Then, in 2004, voters passed Measure 37, which allowed development outside the boundary and raised questions about property rights and the fairness of the entire planning and regulatory framework.
Incorporating historic footage of Portland's growth as the self-proclaimed "City that Works," and recent interviews with city leaders and neighborhood residents during the battles over ballot measures on the land-use planning system, this one-hour documentary film chronicles the complex challenges of aspiring to be a more sustainable metropolis with a smaller carbon footprint. As cities across the country today attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in transit, and focus on infill redevelopment as an alternative to car-dependent sprawl, the experience of Portland provides a cautionary tale for planning in the 21st century, involving issues of economic development, gentrification, local food and farming, property rights, and civic participation.
Northern Light Productions film pages: http://www.makingsenseofplacefilms.com/
View showtimes on public television here.