Framework Plan & EcoDistricts Briefing Paper, Portland State University

SERA, in partnership with Sasaki Associates, provided urban design, architectural, and sustainability expertise, preparing a University District Framework Plan for PSU. Building from an adopted Economic Development Strategy, the Framework Plan defines goals, objectives, and guiding principles to assist the University as it evolves in the future. The Framework Plan proposes alternative program scenarios (both short and long-term) and partnership opportunities that will allow PSU to respond flexibly to new opportunities as they arise. In doing so, it creates a development plan and various implementation scenarios that detail potential physical and strategic action steps for the University and other stakeholders.

SERA provided urban design expertise and review for the project. SERA staff have also prepared various strategies for adapting and revitalizing existing buildings on the campus, and have been preparing an EcoDistrict strategy for the University District. The Framework Plan calls for re-evaluation of key older buildings on campus, including strategies to improve daylighting, campus identity, and the connections between indoors and out. Moreover, it provides a framework for PSU to enhance its role as a key institution in the heart of Portland, providing public and private services to the University and City community alike and guiding growth within a unique urban setting. The project was approved and officially adopted as University policy.

Following the Framework Plan, SERA was retained by the Portland Development Commission to apply this concept to the University District associated with the Portland State University campus in downtown Portland. The EcoDistrict is an integral part of the PSU Framework Plan, which calls for an integrated web of resource system flows based on the concept of Civic Ecology developed by SERA. For this pilot study, SERA outlined strategies for localized energy sharing and generation, water re-use and waste water conversion, stormwater management, transit, local economic cycles, and sustainable land use patterns and policies.