While the multi-dwelling zones provide opportunities for higher density development, the design of this development does not always meet the City’s goals for quality housing development and has generated community concerns. Some issues identified include:
- Development does not always improve street or pedestrian connections in areas that lack them, such as East Portland. This makes it difficult for people to easily and safely get to local places, such as shopping, transit, schools and parks.
- Zoning Code requirements for healthy living features, such as spaces for outdoor recreation or growing food, are limited and do not apply in higher density zones.
- The design of development is often not responsive to the surrounding context or to distinctive characteristics of different areas of Portland.
- The street-facing side of housing, such as row houses with front garages, does not always contribute to pedestrian-friendly environments.
- There are no Zoning Code incentives or requirements that encourage the development of physically accessible housing for people with disabilities. (There are also no incentives for affordable housing, although this is being addressed, in part, through development bonuses being considered through the Inclusionary Housing Project).
- Regulations do not allow for many urban green infrastructure approaches, such as ecoroofs or plantings in raised courtyards, to count toward meeting landscaping requirements.
- Current rules don’t prevent large areas of impervious surfaces (e.g., asphalt or cement) or ensure that development is designed to minimize urban heat island effects.