Monday, February 25, 2008

Multi-Use Movement

Sunset magazine's March 2008 issue featured an article ("Green Like Us") on three families residing in Portland, OR (above pic) who exemplify sustainable living.
Now, I am the first to admit that this whole "sustainable, green movement" has gotten a little trendy and commercial (more on that topic another time).  However, I always appreciate stories about people who are choosing to live in community and sharing their lives with others.
One particular idea that grabbed my attention and sparked thought was a brief look into the value of multi-use development plans.  This is a trend in urban planning that I have been very interested in, and find inspiring.  
In a nutshell, multi-use developments are neighborhoods that combine uses, like residential, retail, and dining, in close proximity to each other, sometimes even sharing buildings.  The multi-use plan is in direct contrast to the type of neighborhood I live in, which is zoned only for residences and does not permit other uses.  
I think there is a lot of potential to foster community and nurture civil society through these multi-use neighborhoods, and I hope they catch on in communities around the country.  Of course, for people like me, who live in standard suburban neighborhoods, we will have to try a little harder to create the kind of community that more easily thrives in closer quarters.  But I think that it can be done by taking some cues from families like these featured in Sunset.  Again...more on that to come in the future! 

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