After watching Heart & Sold, I noted how different most high profile developers
in Portland are. Even the mayor's office here wouldn't dare the kind of brush
off response we see from Seattle. Here it would surely cost them the election.
A dozen or so developers in Portland want to keep the arts in gentrifying communities
and create affordable livework space and many have taken extraordinary steps
to follow through like the Desoto,
Post 5, Falcon Arts Community and the corner of 9th and NW Flanders. It
isn't all talk here.
The problem is they do what they can without many incentives like
Vancouver BC's Amenity Bonus Program, which I mentioned here last week.
It is notoriously difficult for non-Portland developers to do projects here
and I think its time to incentivise a culturally progressive kind of civic development
instead of a purely prophylactic approach. Why not use the relentless force
of real-estate development to build culture into the fabric into neighborhoods
that are supposedly going upscale? It isnt that htough a sell, a culturally
active neighborhood with toney shopping has more cache than one that merely
has high-end shops, it just takes a nudge to make it more common. Instead of
Starucks as a retail anchor, an arts group could be a cultural anchor.
Having lived there from 78 thru 95 I saw quite an explosion of Condos/Upscaleness/gentrification, whateveryouwanttocallit happening, even then.
Belltown, Eastlake, Chinatown, Fremont, Capitol Hill, etc, etc. Haven't been back much in years but no doubt most have gone the Soho route to some extent.
I say don't wax poetic about this or that area. If somethings too spendy or soulless, time to find something new.
Let the developers/investors/empty-nesters have it. It served it's purpose, so it's time to move on.
Thanks for the video, and the opportunity to comment.
Posted by: Sean Casey at August 15, 2007 02:10 PM
Doing something like the Vancouver Amenity program in Portland is a great idea, but the danger is in how it is implemented. The challenge is that whoever is the decision maker for the funding can becomes in some ways an arbiter of art/culture. Thus, as long as the people that are chosen to make the decisions truly represent the public interest, then it would help keep art in the community.
Considering how interwoven real estate developers are within the cultural scene here already... Id say having some cultural tenants beats having no cultural tenants. Fact is I rarely see cultural amenities in new condo developments in Portland these days. Cafe's are good but it would be nice if there was something cultural every 10 or 15 blocks. Here's a slogan: greater occupancy density requires greater density of cultural amenities.
And thanks for revisiting this... I'll make certain to add it to the questions for the mayoral candidates.