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5. They keep strengthening the informal aspects of city life. Here’s just one example: You have never seen anything like Portland’s food carts. They line up by the dozen in parking lots, facing the sidewalk, creating an instant streetside food court of amazing and inexpensive culinary choices. This is not urban planning, exactly — or, at least, it’s not about building higher density and more public transit. Rather, it’s about strengthening the quirky, interesting, and sometimes even necessary little human-scale things that make up urban life. And that’s one of the things that seems to underlie Portland’s success: There are so many people in town who love urban life and want to make it work in a mid-sized city.
6. They’re not holding out for perfection. Don’t ever forget that most of the Portland metro area is just like anywhere else. But part of the message is that you don’t have to transform your whole city — only those parts of your city that are ripe for the transforming. There is no better advertisement for creating more walkable cities than…well, than creating just one walkable neighborhood in your town.
This article is reprinted from citiwire.net, with permission.
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