Virtual Workshop: Learning by Doing: Streets for People

March 4 virtual UD workshop.png
Thursday, March 4, 2021, 11:00am to 1:00pm PST
Portland Urban Design Collaborative
AICP 1.75 hrs (#9211846)



Join us for a conversation about how we can help improve and adapt Portland’s public spaces —our streets, plazas, squares, alleys and promenades— to bring our community together and support economic activity as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. How can we weave the pandemic experiments that temporarily transformed streets into places for people into the fabric of our daily lives?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland has joined many cities around the world in an experiment that involved rapidly closing streets to vehicular traffic to serve as public space for people to gather and businesses to reopen safely. With the availability of vaccines bringing us to the cusp of a post-COVID reality, it’s time to plan for our recovery. What lessons can we carry forward from this past year’s experimentation in Portland and elsewhere? How can we modify, transform and manage existing public space infrastructure—notably streets—to allow for a wider range of activities? How can we engage under-represented groups and increase the diversity of voices to co-create more equitable placemaking processes and outcomes?

Join a conversation about these issues with policymakers, practitioners, the private sector, community advocates and faculty and students from Portland State University and the University of Oregon. Help identify issues and opportunities to collaborate on current and potential projects that test new ideas based on lessons learned.


We will re-convene in April to conduct hands-on workshops focused on those projects. Findings from both events will be documented and shared at a third gathering in May as part of an ongoing community dialogue. You are not required to participate in the April/May events in order to join us on for this March workshop. And, participation in the March workshop is not a pre-requisite for the April/May events.


We are the Portland Urban Design Collaborative: an emerging network of practitioners and advocates concerned with designing, creating and sustaining healthy communities. You don’t need to be a designer to join us; just be willing to think creatively about a wide range of urban challenges facing the Portland city region.  


Moderator: Ellen Shoshkes, Adjunct Associate Professor and Coordinator, Urban Design Certificate, PSU

Plenary Session: Lessons from a Year of Experimentation
Art Pearce, Policy, Planning and Projects Group Manager, PBOT; Nick Falbo, Senior Transportation Planner, PBOT

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will share lessons learned from a year of experimentation from PBOT’s Healthy Business permit program for repurposing street space and frame the opportunity for future expansion of these ideas on a broader scale.

Breakout Discussions: Facilitated discussions with attendees to vision opportunities, identify barriers and build partnerships around existing and potential projects:

  • Creating Safe and Welcoming Places that resist White supremacy: cross cutting issues of equity, inclusion and diversity (Julius McGee, Assistant Professor, USP, Portland State University)
  • Creating Places to Gather: Physical Design Considerations for Year-Round, Multi-Purpose Public Spaces (Todd Ferry, Associate Director, Center for Public Interest Design, SOA, PSU)
  • Creating the Civic Commons: Fostering Connections Between Local Civic and Cultural Assets (C.N.E. Corbin, Assistant Professor, USP)
  • Creative Placemaking: The role of art and culture in planning, design and activation of public space (Subashini Ganesan, Portland Creative Laureate)
  • Creative Placekeeping: Alternative Models for Stewardship and Financing of Public Space (Hau Hagedorn, Associate Director TREC at PSU)


This event is co-sponsored by the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University (PSU), the PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs and College of the Arts, and the City of Portland's Bureau of Transportation.