Portland’s built environment is rapidly changing. Every time I see a new building rising from a once-empty lot, I consider how it fits into its immediate context and wonder what it will look like 50 years from now – or even 100 years from now.

Will it still be contributing to Portland’s character and quality? Or will it be uninspiring, rundown and shabby, depressing the surrounding neighborhood?

Will its existence have eased the environmental strain on our planet? Or will it have overused energy and contributed to depleting Earth’s resources?

Will it have been able to adapt to climate changes such as sea level rise, fierce storms or heavier snow? Or will such events have shortened its life and usefulness, requiring more natural resources to be expended? Will it be able to adapt to societal changes such as housing needs, fluctuations in the economy and changes in transportation?

Is the city of Portland planning with the health of Mother Earth in mind or just building for short-term profit? If Portland’s leadership is wise, not only ought each building be a thoughtful investment in the future health of the planet – but it ought to have appealing aesthetics, be appropriate to its context and contribute to an overall city design that promotes long-term livability, adaptability and sustainability.

Francesca Galluccio-Steele


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