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Completed in 2003, the Orenco Station neighborhood of Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, remains a shining example of neighborhood transformation from suburban sprawl into a pedestrian-friendly, high-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented community.
Prior to its redevelopment, the Orenco Station neighborhood was a nursery that closed its doors in 1938. The land sat vacant for decades until the 1990s when TriMet—Portland’s Light Rail system—extended its services to the Orenco Station neighborhood.
Planning for the redesign of the Orenco neighborhood of Hillsboro began in 1994 and led by Alpha Engineering, Fletcher Farr Ayotte and Iverson Associates, and Walker Mac. In their design preparations, the team took a novel approach in several ways. First, they studied historic, traditional architecture of the region to evoke a connection to the past through their modern redevelopment.
Next, the team met with city planners from the City of Hillsboro in a collaborative effort to rewrite the site’s zoning code and incorporate many New Urban principles. The new zoning ordinance allows for innovative changes including narrow streets (at a maximum width of twenty feet), maximum street setbacks of nineteen feet, side yard easements, granny flat accessory dwellings, live/work homes, and garages located in the rear of properties. The zoning ordinance also permits mixed-use development within the neighborhood. Together, these changes create a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, and dense environment.
Orenco Station stands as a transit-oriented development featuring 1,800 homes, a Town Center, offices, retail options, and nearby employment on 209 acres. Developed by Pacific Realty Associates, L.P. and Costa Pacific Homes, Orenco Station’s residential options include apartments, single-family dwellings, condominiums, and townhomes. The Orenco Station neighborhood is structured around the TriMet Light Rail station. The station leads to pedestrian spine that extends north through the Town Center, and townhomes, culminating in a Central Park at the north end of the neighborhood. The pedestrian spine is surrounded by a grid of walkable streets throughout the neighborhood.
Orenco Station, a case-study of transit-oriented, walkable, New Urbanist developments, has won numerous awards including the 1998 Oregon Governor’s Livability Award, the 1998 Best Masterplanned Community in America Award by the National Association of Home Builders, and the 1999 AIA/ULI/FTA/STPP Transit Communities Livable Design Award.
An unlikely urban neighborhood and center has taken shape in Northwest Huntsville, Alabama— an area characterized by car dealerships, big box stores, apartment complexes, industrial parks, subdivisions, and single-family houses.
Aldershot, United Kingdom
One of the largest brownfield developments in the United Kingdom has produced a sustainable town extension that meets the local community’s most urgent needs.
Richmond, Virginia’s two-mile East End Transformation corridor plan, a 350-acre vision for a hospital campus– centered development in an economically challenged area, brought together residents, business owners, nonprofit leaders, and public offic