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8 80 cityXchange

Portland

Project Objective

Our objective was to bring 30 decision makers from seven cities to Portland, OR, with the support of the Knight Foundation, to study how local businesses contribute to, and benefit from high quality public spaces.

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  • Date: 2015
  • City: Portland, OR, US
  • Funded by Knight Foundation

Through walking tours and presentations by local business owners and advocates, we learned that nurturing a vibrant business community is about more than policy – it’s about people.

Walking Tour, Portland

The cast of entrepreneurs, restauranteurs, developers, and artists we met throughout the tour convinced us that all cities can replicate Portland’s success if local residents mobilize to identify a collective vision and develop homegrown strategies to support local business.

One presenter said it best: “the street is the commodity.” Businesses have a direct role to play in creating a vibrant and memorable street experience – and that’s what keeps people coming back. The more people you attract to the street through activated window displays, creative signage, and planters, the more customers you get.

Before we sent our guests home, 8 80 Cities facilitated a team workshop that allowed participants to develop action plans to apply these lessons in their own city. Our 30 participants returned to their cities energized, inspired, and with equipped with new skills and knowledge to make meaningful change in their communities.

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