Health + Vitality
Healthy and connected neighborhood are a fundamental goal of the Portland Plan.
Portland is renowned for the respectful relationship between the city and the vast natural resources that surround and carry through it. Nurturing this relationship is important to the physical health and happiness of our citizens and the health of our watersheds, streams, and rivers.
Portland is among the nation’s healthiest cities –ranked by Forbes’ as the fifth fittest in the U.S. This is in no small part due to the active lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest—a culture and value we have brought right into the heart of the city itself.
We are a city that lives with nature and cares about our planet. We have taken aggressive action to provide inviting and attractive alternatives to vehicle travel and it has shown results. While national per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) rose by 8%, Portland saw an 8% decline. Nearly a quarter of our residents (24%) use non-auto modes to commute to work. This is vitally important as transportation accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the city.
The actions included here look forward—forward to healthy people and a healthy planet.
- Improve Community Health: Transportation affects both our physical fitness and the health of our environment. Streets and networks without safe places to walk or bike result, not surprisingly, in fewer people walking or cycling. With busy days consumed with the tasks of daily work, family, and life, fewer people are getting the incidental and occasional fitness benefit of merely walking to the bus stop, biking to the corner store, or going for a spontaneous jog.
- Improve the Health of the Environment: Portland, like many cities in the Pacific Northwest, is committed not only to human health, but environmental health as well. We know well the pressures our human habitation puts on the environment—stormwater runoff, energy consumption, light pollution, air emissions, and solid waste among them. We are committed to reducing, reusing, and recycling not only in our own homes but in our agency business practices as well.
- Be an Effective Leader in Climate Change: We need to push further in both addressing and responding to climate change. We will continue to reduce our impacts, but we must concurrently prepare for what may come in terms of more snow, more rain, and more heat. We need to learn and adapt in both street materials and management. Networks become increasingly important in ensuring flexibility and redundancy in routes and connections to keep the city moving, regardless of the climate challenge.