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Public Gathering Spaces

What is the SoMa EcoDistrict? SoMa is shorthand for “South of Market” which is the Portland State University area. “EcoDistricts are neighborhoods committed to accelerating sustainability that integrates building and infrastructure projects with community and individual action.”  The SoMa EcoDistrict has a new project in the works this spring, a parklet by the SW 4th Avenue Food Carts. Always interested in how people use public spaces, I will be watching closely to see how this project unfolds.

SoMa and PSU’s Reuse Room held a lovely give-take-share event last summer on campus. Liz Hormann (winner of the 2014 Excellence in Sustainability Engagement Award) was the organizer.IMG_8745She explained that people in the neighborhood can come here to donate or acquire clothing and household goods, which keeps reusable items out of the landfill and helps build a local and sustainable economy. It was also just a fun place to gather on a sunny day.IMG_8746 IMG_8723 Some “new” shoes!IMG_8728Thanks to  Social Pleasure Club for the great music that beautiful day:IMG_8738Park(ing) Day each September is another way space is carved out of an urban setting for people to gather. One or two curbside parking spaces are used as tiny parks. At this one they were serving free coffee from Trailhead:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the Hillsdale Neighborhood where I live, public spaces both temporary and permanent are loved by the community. (A great article about pop-up public spaces in other cities is here.) The annual Hillsdale Blueberry Pancake Breakfast & Book Sale:IMG_3804This space between two Hillsdale food carts has the feel of comfortable dining room:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tiny, inviting plaza in the Hillsdale Town Center:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA hilltop basketball court converted to space for a neighborhood potluck:IMG_3789Looking forward to this spring and being outdoors together in beautiful southwest Portland.

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