Since moving to Portland I’ve lived in three different places, each just three blocks from the last. Yet, I’ve found these small shifts have changed which bus route I’m closest to, so I’ve switched bus routes each time. I’ve really enjoyed my newest bus route because my transfer point is much more bustling. I can stop to pick up groceries on my way home without going out of my way. The start of my bike route is slightly different, taking me through new parts of the neighborhood at the beginning of my daily commute, but most of my bike route remains the same.
Last spring I was in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class and my group’s project was to map public amenities and access to them via bike routes and transit. I was not surprised to discover that my neighborhood, Cully, is one of the least well-served neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue. There are great things happening in Cully including a new park, a farmer’s market, a new business overlay zone, a couple urban farms, and, of course, Cully Grove. There are many large lots in Cully, so there are folks with double lots, big gardens, and backyard chickens. If I were interested in the urban homestead lifestyle, this would be a great neighborhood for me. I think it’s pretty neat that a place like Cully exists within the inner city. But this low level density cannot sustain as many urban amenities as a more compact development.
I’m studying sustainable urban planning, I’m crazy about small spaces, and I travel by foot, bike, transit, and car share, so being in a more compact area is a better fit for me. Besides, I appreciate a lifestyle that involves interacting with my surrounding community. When I visited my little sister last spring I was amazed at how nice it was to walk to the grocery store and the coffee shop in just a few minutes. For my next abode I hope to find a place in a much more dense area. I’m curious to see where it will be!