The fact that city officials were willing to adopt — unanimously — regulatory changes that so angered builders raises fascinating questions about the politics of urban planning and design in Portland. This paper analyzes the process that resulted in the adoption of these changes, the Base Zone Design Standards (BZDS), which are a set of amendments to the local zoning code. The argument here is that, despite the rhetorical flourishes employed both by journalists and some in the construction business, these changes ought to be seen as an incremental addition to a set of practices that have been evolving over a period of two decades. They are the result of efforts by City of Portland planners, in alliance with local architects, neighborhood leaders, and livability activists, to craft a response to a variety of local and regional pressures, a response that was legally defensible, politically feasible, and reflective of ideas in good currency within the built environment professions regarding the impact of design on behavior.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sy_adler/13/