The Changing Built Environment
Portland's Urban Development

Taught by Tyler Bump

Learn how and why Portland has developed into the city it is today. 

  • Gain a basic understanding of market dynamics that shape our communities and the built environment. 

  • Examine how other cities are addressing growth and urban challenges.

This course will provide an overview of how and why cities change, looking specifically at urban economics and Portland's oft-debated and rapidly changing urban environment. We'll introduce ideas behind land use planning in Portland, look at an overview of development trends, and get an introductory grasp on the economics of Portland's real estate development. This course is designed to provide an introduction to Portland's urban economics and development in a fun, interactive, and engaging way. We expect students to engage with each other in a respectful and productive manner. Come join us in open-minded dialogue about the city's future.

Week 1: Land Use Planning and a History of Development in Portland. From trade at the confluence of two great rivers to small-batch coffee, we'll look at how we got to a post-recession Portland in 2015.

Week 2: Power and Privilege in the Public Decision Making Process. The way we build our cities impacts different communities in different ways. This session will provide an introduction to planning from an equity framework through discussions of race, power, privilege, and the built environment.

Week 3: Why Here? Why Now? Market Dynamics and Development. Changes to the built environment in Portland over the past few years have started significant discussions in the media and in our communities. This session will evaluate the dynamics of the local real estate market within the context of land use economics.

Week 4: Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). A review of public policy and the politics of change and growth. The final week of this course will apply weekly readings on the recent HALA policies in Seattle to the context in Portland for a discussion of preservation, affordability, and the future of our city.

Tyler Bump is the Senior Economic Planner at the City of Portland Bureau of Planning + Sustainability.

This course is graciously hosted by two community organizations close to public transit and safe bicycle facilities. Please consider taking transit, biking, walking, or rolling.