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Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification, Neighborhoods -- Oregon -- Portland, Sustainable urban development


Portland, Oregon is renowned as a paradigmatic "sustainable city". Yet, despite popular conceptions of the city as a progressive ecotopia and the accolades of planners seeking to emulate its innovations, Portland’s sustainability successes are inequitably distributed. Drawing on census data, popular media, newspaper archives, city planning documents, and secondary-source histories, we attempt to elucidate the structural origins of Portland’s "uneven development", exploring how and why the urban core of this paragon of sustainability has become more White and affluent while its outer eastside has become more diverse and poor. We explain how a "sustainability fix" – in this case, green investment in the city’s core – ultimately contributed to the demarcation of racialized poverty along 82nd Avenue, a major north-south arterial marking the boundary of East Portland. Our account of structural processes taking place at multiple scales contributes to a growing body of literature on eco-gentrification and displacement and inner-ring suburban change while empirically demonstrating how Portland’s advances in sustainability have come at the cost of East Portland’s devaluation. Our "30,000 foot" perspective reveals systemic patterns that might then guide more fine-grained analyses of particular political-socio-cultural processes, while providing cautionary insights into current efforts to extend the city’s sustainability initiatives using the same green development model.


This is a post-print version of the following article: Goodling, Erin, Jamaal Green, & Nathan McClintock (2015) Uneven Development of the Sustainable City: Shifting Capital in Portland, Oregon. Urban Geography



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