Blog

Can Skyscrapers Save the City?

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser’s new book Triumph of the City provides interesting observations and insights into the workings of cities, but the book’s most notable (and controversial) argument is that regulatory constraints limiting building height and preserving historic districts have crippled cities in terms of their ability to provide affordable housing. An entire chapter of the […]

Tim Smith talks Civic Ecology at TEDx

Tim Smith, Principal and Director of Urban Design + Planning at SERA, was honored to speak at the recent TEDx event held at Portland’s Concordia University. Click below to view his presentation. In the ever-important (yet increasingly cluttered!) conversation about “sustainability,” what are the key innovations that are showing us the way forward? Are more […]

Walking with Walgreens vs. Walking to Walgreens

Efforts by American corporations to leverage social programs have been on the uptick in recent years. One of the more recent initiatives is by Walgreens, the Illinois-based drug store chain that has over 7,500 stores in the U.S. Walgreens has implemented a new rewards program to encourage customers to integrate more exercise – specifically, walking […]

What We’re Reading – July 2011

Ideas flow freely here in SERA’s Urban Design + Planning studio, and it’s the constant sharing of perspectives that contributes to the fun we have in the office. From time to time we’re going to produce a compilation of some of these articles & websites that have piqued our collective interest and pass them on […]

Portland’s Creative Class Slump

Aaron Renn recently reposted on Urbanophile a column he wrote last year for the Oregonian discussing whether or not the hype surrounding Portland is justified (he argues that it is). While it’s unquestionable that Portland has been a trailblazer (no pun intended) in the urban renaissance movement we now see taking root in cities across […]

Are Parking Benefit Districts in Portland’s Future?

It’s no secret that we are pretty passionate about smart urban growth over here at SERA, particularly when it comes to how a city’s transportation network affects its inhabitants. That’s why we perked up when we saw the recent headline in The Oregonian regarding a potential “parking benefit district” around Portland State University. There seems […]

A Visit to The High Line

On a recent trip to New York City, I made time to visit the High Line – a postindustrial rail line that was recently re-invented (2009) as a place of urban wild. This elevated rail originally served as a way to transport goods from the Hudson River railyards into the Meatpacking District above the congestion […]

Passing (On Bottled) Water

Oregon first introduced its landmark Bottle Bill in the early 1970’s as a way to reduce litter and encourage recycling. The original language included only carbonated and malt beverages because these were the most common containers disposed of along Oregon highways. The Bottle Bill was initially written to be flexible, but the market has continued […]

Sustainable Action Celebration 2011

And now, a little about us. Back in 2002, we officially committed ourselves to being a sustainable business by conducting a thorough, months-long backcasting process. This process outlined a new set of sustainable business policies, practices, and strategies for the firm; it also established what would become the Sustainable Action Committee (SAC) to oversee their execution. […]

Civic Ecology – Damascus Style!

On Saturday 12 February 2011, the City of Damascus (Oregon) hosted the first of its two Civic Ecology Workshops at Damascus City Hall. The workshop was facilitated by staff from SERA Architects and CH2M HILL as part of on-going sustainability planning efforts for the City. The premise behind Civic Ecology is that attaining sustainability requires […]