Portland’s Urban Edge

Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) encircles 400 square miles of city.  Used to limit and guide the expansion of Portland, the UGB engenders unique urban forms and processes.  As the boundary expands over time, it facilitates the formation of new territory; replacing one “land use” with another.  The city edge is a dynamic space where structure, form and program are radically transformed in the shift from rural to urban.  The UGB process of expansion is itself subject to change: in the last 10 years the line has expanded far more dramatically than in its earlier history, adding 25,000 acres to the city.

invert boundary

An edged city is a relative freak in North American Urbanism, a remarkable anomaly from so many edgeless cities (think Atlanta, GA).  What are the physical and process-based qualities of this deliberate urban edge?  What design opportunities can be discovered here?  F.A.D. is researching this terrrain to link theoretical abstractions and urban planning with on-the-ground experience, formulating questions and exploring overlooked possibilities.

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