As urban neighborhoods brace for an influx of new inhabitants, a few cities are taking the opportunity to rethink their development strategies. Instead of letting things fall where they may, and dealing with the details at a later date, cities like Portland and San Francisco are collaborating with architects, builders, and residents to plan resilient neighborhoods–called Eco-Districts–built around green design ideals.

In Portland, one such Eco-District is finally underway. This week, American Assets Trust and GBD Architects broke ground on Hassalo on Eighth, a project that will bring 657 apartments and 58,000 square feet of retail space to the white-collar Lloyd District. According to GBD Architects, the entire development “will be LEED Platinum certified, and includes a number of innovative green technologies, including recycling and re-using all of the building’s water, which is extremely rare in residential developments.”

Hassalo On Eigth GBD Architects
Image via GBD Architects

Like other Eco-District being planned or built around the country, Hassalo on Eighth is mean to provide everything one needs to live comfortably inside the neighborhood.

“There is a gap in the urban grid of this neighborhood where mid-century planning principals called for surface parking lots in lieu of dense, walkable communities,” explain the architects on their website. “We are repairing this urban fabric by introducing mixed-use, dense development that creates a 24-hour neighborhood.”

The ideas is that residents, presumably young professionals, will be able to work, shop, and access entertainment services all within a small areas, eliminating the need for motorized transportation and rebuilding a sense of face-to-face community.

“We’re very excited about what we’re going to accomplish for our community, because this is our community now,” American Assets Trust chairman Ernest Rady, told Oregon live. “This will make our total investment in the Portland area almost half a billion dollars, and that’s real money.”



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