Only 24% of Portlanders Want Suburbs, But 48% are Stuck Living There From Lack of Options!

Recently another article came out via OregonLive, “Most metro-area residents live in suburbs, but wish they didn’t: study“, that actually reflects something interesting about our living style here in Portland. The key measurement I’ve noted is that this article differentiates between town center neighborhood living versus suburban living. This is one of the biggest differentiators that often doesn’t come up between suburban and urban living. You see, town center living is dramatically more comparable to urban living versus suburban living.

In the poll, only 24% of respondents actually wanted to live in suburbia, but sadly 48% live in suburbia for a host of reasons. The number one reason is because we’ve funneled an absurd amount of resources into building an untenable road system that perpetuates (through subsidies and other related hand outs) suburban lifestyles – regardless of the fact that many people don’t actually want that type of lifestyle.

This study should be a key indicator to developers and the city politicians, the two areas of growth that are in demand include urban, town center development, and rural styles of life. Which means simply, there should be an all-hands stop of any new suburban style development and we should focus on urban and town center style developments. By doing so we support the option of rural lifestyle by doing so!

So many other tenants for the future of development in Portland can be derived from this data. Fortunately, the city continues to move in the right directions. The real question is will Washington and Clackamas County move in the same direction to protect rural life styles and not allow their suburban development to destroy the rural life style that remains? Will Portland be able to build appropriate town centers and urban areas up enough to handle the influx of new residents?

As always, it seems we’ll get a chance to see!


    1. +1. I concur. That just went for vote too in the current elections coming up, it wasn’t even mentioned however to the public. Which is kind of frustratingly shocking – I suspect some of the neighborhoods didn’t want that messed with. It however serves the city to allow for increased density within the city and walkable areas instead of at the outskirts.

      It’ll be interesting to see if people vote a continued ban or let it lift which would allow more density in non-infill locations. (in other words infill would continue, but it would allow for apartments and other buildings to actually be built in other existing neighborhoods if a land owner wanted to build that type of development.


  1. Here’s another opportunity to point out that Gateway and Lents Town Center (along with a number of Green Line and Blue Line transit station areas) have an ample supply of large lots and land that could be redeveloped into walkable, complete and compact neighborhood areas with minimal intrusion on nearby single family residential zones.


    1. YES! Absolutely and it would be spectacular if somehow this could be done sooner than later. I’m totally onboard pushing for improved neighborhoods like that. Minimal amount of work, a whole bunch of positives for the people living there.


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