NU Community Promotes Social Networks

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A recent New Urban News article, by Robert Steuteville credits "Orenco Station, [as] one of the best-known new urban developments in the Northwest" for fostering "physical activity" which "adds to the richness of community life." Seen through the results of a recently conducted door-to-door survey, the new urbanist community and it's initiatives are confidently establishing more and more credibility among citizens, developers, and officials.

"With approximately 1,850 housing units and a town center that includes 68,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space on a total of 190 acres" reports Steuteville, the Orenco Station, has become an excellent demonstration of the principles of New Urbanism. Despite rampant skepticism, and dismissal of New Urbanism as a practical solution for community and social development from modernist planning circles, surveys show that pedestrian friendly design is gaining clout.

Among the extensive list of findings, here are just a few of the highlights:

"Fifty-nine percent of Orenco Station residents engage in group activities, compared to only 30 percent in the Beaverton suburb and 31 percent and 30 percent in the two Portland neighborhoods. The quality of group activities in Orenco Station appears to be higher than the other neighborhoods. Orenco Station residents most commonly cite group dinners, book clubs, and other informal neighborhood activities. The only common group activities in the other neighborhoods were neighborhood watch and homeowners association meetings. The study notes that in Orenco Station residents meet primarily for social reasons, while in the other neighborhoods they meet mostly to address safety and property issues."

"Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed report that people are friendlier in Orenco Station than in the places where they previously lived. In the Beaverton suburb, only 47 percent said people are friendlier there, and 45 percent and 42 percent said this about the two Portland neighborhoods."

An area of concern within "the study is the modal split for commuting" reports Steuteville. "Only 15 percent of Orenco Station residents reported using mass transit as a regular commute, slightly lower than the Beaverton suburb and the lowest in the survey." Despite this finding, Orenco Station provides hope, backed by the voice of a growing populace of citizens who are seeing the benefit of urban development which is oriented around mass transit systems and the pedestrian scale.

To read more on this article, visit New Urban News online.

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