The year 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the City of Portland's 1972 Downtown Plan, one of the most consequential plans in the city's history. It put in place a vision for a public, pedestrian-scaled, multipurpose, and vital downtown.
Through the requirements adopted in the Downtown Plan and subsequent public and private investments stemming from it, Portland's core area became an international icon for central city recovery. That plan also formally identified Portland State University as the city's "urban university."
This paper begins with an examination of the history of the urban university idea in the United States and a presentation of a working definition of what an urban university is today. It then examines the way that begin an urban university has been baked into Portland State's identity from its very beginning, and concludes with some thoughts about where we might go from here.
Nightingale, Kimberly and Seltzer, Ethan, "Portland, Portland State, and the Urban University Idea" (2022). Historical Articles and Essays. 6.