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News & Press: ACSP Annual Conference News

Welcome to Portland

Friday, September 16, 2016  
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Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University and
the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon, we
invite and welcome you to Portland for the 56th Annual Conference of the ACSP!

Planners know Portland for its unique elected regional government and urban growth boundary.
Readers of the New York Times know Portland for its new restaurants, bicycles, and artisanal
….well, artisanal everything. And, of course, the tv show Portlandia gifted us with the
catchphrase, “put a bird on it.” Portland’s bustling downtown and waterfront and lively
neighborhood commercial districts (connected by transit!) and the nearby natural beauty of the
Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood (protected by the state land use planning system!) make it
a fantastic location to host a conference of urban planners.

As conference hosts who live in, work in, and love this city, we aim to show you more. Portland
is where we study and teach, hoping to have positive impacts on the city, region, and state
through engaged scholarship, a pedagogy of practice, and our own civic participation. Our local
host sessions at the conference will share research about the opportunities and challenges of
the statewide planning systems in Oregon and Washington; discuss lessons from PSU’s and
UO’s unique approaches to teaching the practice of planning in our Master degree programs;
and present engaged scholarship about Portland’s affordable housing emergency that raises
questions about what a sustainable city really means.

Through mobile workshops, you’ll have the opportunity to see the evolution of Portland’s
vaunted bikeways, transit system, and green infrastructure. Or, enjoy an early happy hour and
walkable street life at urban breweries or a food cart pod! You can also explore the challenges of
environmental justice, equity, and neighborhood transformations that are equally an important
part of the Portland story. Don’t find an official mobile tour that excites you? Portland’s internet
community will likely have something to meet your interests!

We are especially excited about the keynote speaker, Rick Lowe, of Project Rowhouses in
Houston, Texas, an artist and MacArthur-awarded genius. Project Rowhouses has transformed
a neighborhood through the celebration of African-American art and culture in the context of
community development and affordable housing innovations. Its current challenges with
potential gentrification and maintaining a voice for residents in redevelopment resonate for us
here in Portland, and for many cities. After the keynote address, join us by transit, bike share, or
walking across the car-free Tillikum Crossing to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry,
our beautiful reception site. The reception site is located in Portland’s eastside industrial district.
Following the reception, enjoy exploring yet another perspective of Portlandia at new
restaurants and bars filling up old industrial spaces.

We are excited to meet with all of you again, or for the first time--and a special welcome to new
students and junior colleagues joining the conversation at ACSP! See you in November! And,
yes, you should probably bring an umbrella.

Lisa Bates & Marisa Zapata, PSU co-chairs


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.