Exploring Livability in Lents: what does it mean to be “livable?”


Lents is changing—and it’s happening fast. As one of the city’s most diverse and last-remaining affordable neighborhoods, Lents has not always received the attention or resources it deserves from government agencies. But in recent years, more and more eyes shifted to Lents—from government infrastructure projects to private-sector investments to nonprofit activity and community involvement

In this blog series the Livable Lents team will share what we learned from our 2015 livability survey, to help people better understand the current environment and future hopes of the community. We also seek to pose next steps for both individuals and organizations who are interested in working to create a more livable Lents for all.

But what makes a place livable? We referenced models like: Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, American Institute of Architects, Bioregional One Planet Living, and worked with partners throughout Lents and SE Portland to begin adapting the EcoDistrict framework, in order to reflect some of the core conditions that people had indicated as important to them in their lives as community members in Lents. Additionally, the livability categories that we used in our survey were refined based on feedback we received from community members during our 2011 and 2012 pilot programs.

Factors that make up a livable community


While these livable categories are not the only factors that make a neighborhood livable, they are essential contributors. We believe that when these livability factors have a positive impact on the community, they interact to provide a healthy, accessible, and affordable neighborhood for everybody. Livability is largely subjective and involves a variety of conditions. We recognize that these factors vary from person to person, and those differences are one of the main reasons we are reaching out to individual residents from a diversity of backgrounds and asking about the impact of those various conditions in their daily lives.

Through this Livable Lents project, we have worked to better understand the needs of this vibrant community and find ways to improve organizational involvement and engagement in the neighborhood. After three years of talking with Lents residents, we have come to believe that a livable neighborhood is inherently affordable. Thus the subject of affordability comes up again and again in our report, warranting further discussion and exploration.

Community Planning

It is essential to provide opportunities for members of a community to have a strong voice in the determination of a community’s future; who better to decide what would make a neighborhood livable   than the people who live there. Our goal is to create accessible spaces for community members to provide input and discuss the development of Lents in their own terms. We hope you will join us in the conversation!

Please feel free to leave comments below and contact us to get more involved!  

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