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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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About the Urban Design Studio

Central Portland Plan -- Urban Design Assessment West Burnside Enhanced Existing Plan Design Central Portland: A staff report for the Central Portland Plan Rose Quarter Redevelopment South Waterfront Design Guidelines & South Waterfront Greenway Design Guidelines


Our mission is to advance the design quality of places citywide. We explore and develop visions, concepts and ideas to illustrate physical changes as Portland continues to evolve. Our approach builds upon Portland’s unique setting and history and its changing population, to enrich the quality, health and diversity of experiences.

In the advancement of design citywide, the UDS:

  • Leads and facilitates design workshops
  • Produces design policy and guidelines
  • Creates urban design concept plans
  • Assists and advises other planning projects
  • Engages design professionals, institutions, and community groups

The UDS implements the following design principles in all of our work:

  • Make places for people: Develop a wide range of distinctive places where the public and private realm are integrated
  • Strengthen connections: Link places with safe, direct connections and an attractive system of green corridors
  • Enhance the existing: Sensitively integrate new development within existing districts that honor historic and cultural identity
  • Embrace the future: Create new places within the urban fabric that offer new uses, buildings and patterns
  • Lead by example: Foster Portland’s international identity as the premier green city, where vibrant, active neighborhoods are the foundation of a sustainable city
  • Make it happen: Create big picture visions for the future of Portland’s places, while offering smaller-scale strategies and partnerships for near term implementation


Selected works, completed and in progress:

Design Central City, Volume II (2012)

Following outreach from Volume I, UDS is developing an Urban Design Concept for the Central City 2035 Plan. This report illustrates three design themes for the Central City: Link to the Larger Landscape, Strengthen Districts, and Diversify the Public Realm. 

N/NE Quadrant Plan: Street and Development Character Concept (2012)
This document describes a conceptual approach to create a series of different street and development characters in the North/Northeast Quadrant Plan study area. Read the draft document

NE Cully Main Street (2012)
UDS developed future area concepts and illustrations for proposed residential and commercial zoning along NE Cully. The project aims to allow more neighborhood services in the heart of Cully, including shops, restaurants and other amenities.

Design Central City, Volume I (2010)
Working closely with BPS’s Central City team, the Urban Design Studio authored Design Central City, Volume I, as a starting point to discuss some of the key urban design issues facing Portland’s Central City today. 

SE Outer Powell Blvd. Conceptual Design Plan (2011)
Working with the PBOT, ODOT, project consultants and the community, UDS produced an Existing Conditions analysis and an Urban Design Concept for the corridor that focuses on unique features and locally owned small businesses and neighborhood amenities. Visit the project website

Hollywood Urban Park Charrette (2010)
UDS led a design charrette facilitated by the Hollywood Neighborhood Association to explore the creation of an urban park on three potential sites. Amenities included: a home for the Hollywood Farmers Market, water feature, lawn, and children’s play area.

South Waterfront Design Guidelines (2009)

The Urban Design Studio led the Design Guideline update for South Waterfront, working with the Central City District planners and consultant, Walker Macy. The new guidelines reflect the spirit and intent of the 2004 Greenway Development Plan. Read the adopted report

Central Portland Plan Urban Design Assessment (2007)
This report discusses how urban form, quality, and identity can and should develop in the Central City. It provides a set of qualitative and quantitative references for Design Central City and future urban design work for the Central City 2035 Plan. Read the final reports

Rose Quarter Redevelopment Study (2009)
Working closely with the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the Urban Design Studio prepared site analysis and alternative materials, associated graphics, led a charrette, and assisted in preparation for a community Open House.

West Burnside Enhanced Existing Plan (2009)
Working closely with the Bureau of Transportation, UDS staff conceived, developed and refined a “fallback” plan for the West Burnside corridor between the Burnside Bridge and West 24th Place.

About the Urban Design Studio

The Urban Design Studio consists of three full-time staff and 2 interns with design backgrounds in landscape architecture and architecture — in addition to art, social work, and urban planning. We bring a diversity of lenses to our work, collaborating to communicate and test ideas.

Staff Contacts

Mark Raggett
Lora Lillard, AICP
Leslie Lum

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