Author Karrie Jacobs – the keynote speaker at mid-October’s Affordable Housing by Design conference – has some nice things to say after her tour of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver:

In these three Pacific North­west cities, the progressive power of urban planning is taken very seriously, and concepts like livability and sustainability dominate the local civic culture to such an extent that to visit all three in rapid succession, as I did in October, is to drop in on another country. It’s not the United States or Canada, but a more highly evolved combination of the two.

In her Metropolis Magazine column – Revenge of the Small – she was impressed with how Vancouver came up with a “a new menu of housing variety,” potentially creating 20,000 additional units.  Approved styles here and in Portland seem too traditional for her contemporary taste, but she recognizes the signficance of the move to smaller homes:

In an era when ever-bigger houses are the norm, Portland and Vancouver’s carefully vetted plans might help other North American cities and towns promote domestic downsizing. That would be no small accomplishment.

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