<![CDATA[Vertical city - Blogpage]]>Mon, 09 Mar 2020 04:24:57 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Fixing Portland, Oregon’s Housing Problem Without Destroying Its Character]]>Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:17:16 GMThttp://verticalcity.org/blogpage/fixing-portland-oregons-housing-problem-without-destroying-its-characterby Mary-Kate Fotch
Downtown Portland. Source: Wikimedia Commons
In 2016, small talk is risky business in Portland, Oregon. Seemingly innocent questions like “How long have you lived here?” or “Are you originally from Portland?” can quickly turn a conversation sour. For some Portland natives, the way you answer this question will dictate the tone for the rest of your interaction, and God help you if your answer contains any variation of “I’m from California.”

The population of Portland is growing at a rapid rate, a fact that causes many lifelong residents to grumble and sigh in defeat. Heralded as “the new San Francisco,” Portland has seen a 5.2% population growth rate since 2010. According to census estimates released on March 26th, the Portland metro area has reached a population of approximately 2.35 million residents, with just over 116,000 transplants since 2010. Forbes counts Portland as one of the 20 fastest growing cities in America and recent estimates from the regional government Metro predict a 725,000 person increase over the next 20 years.

These statistics mean many things for the City of Roses: more competition for already highly sought after jobs, greater gentrification in older areas of the city, a higher cost of living and a booming real estate market for all 112 neighborhoods in the Portland metropolitan area.
Popular real estate website Zillow ranks Portland as one of the Top Ten Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2016. In 2015 home prices rose by 10%, which according to Auction.com makes Portland the 5th best single-family home market in the nation. These statistics are good news for the economy but for the Portland residents who are accustomed to low rents and small town vibes, this only means change. 

There are many schools of thought on how Portland should accommodate its ever-growing population. It only takes one cross-town venture during rush hour to recognize that the infrastructure needs updating if the city intends to keep up with the influx of people. Some see this as the end of “Old Portland”: an penultimate city set on a pedestal of nostalgia and resistance to change. Others see this as an opportunity; a chance to turn the once shunned outskirts of the city into bustling micropolitans; to renovate beloved parts of town that have seen better days; to make Portland the best possible version of itself that it can be. 

Portland architect Rick Potestio believes that the population boom and sky rocketing real estate costs can be solved by converting existing low density neighborhoods into “Garden Cities” which feature New York style apartment buildings centered around schools and parks. 

His vision is considered radical by some but it could be a step for Portland to begin growing vertically instead of horizontally.  

What if there was a way to combine the two? Imagine this: using the already established suburbs surrounding Portland and injecting city life into them. Rather than all of us racing to the same part of town for that real Portland experience, a twenty minute MAX ride in any direction could supply the same thing. 

Surely, this plan would go against the very nature that Old Portlanders have built their self-worth on: absolute originality. Dropping eclectic sub-cities into each surrounding neighborhood would only water down the identity that Portland has established. Making Portland's “weirdness” easily accessible to suburbanites only serves to lessen its unique nature. And if there’s one thing we pride ourselves on around here, it’s being unique, right?

Not necessarily. Instead of city elitists looking down their noses at the bridge and tunnel crowd, why not expand that true Portland essence to the farthest perimeter possible? By turning neighboring suburbs into their own culture hubs, we wouldn’t be diluting Portland but more accurately diversifying the presence that is already there.

What if Portland was the first major city to accomplish this massive growth without losing any of its joie de vie? What if by taking one drop of our highly concentrated culture and dropping it into surrounding low density neighborhoods, we could unlock the solution to overpopulation in the already highly saturated areas of the city that transplants are flocking to? It could be that we found a way to not duplicate Portland as it is, but let it evolve naturally into something no one has ever experienced. A burgeoning city center, full of diverse neighborhoods, surrounded by smaller hubs with their own unique presence.What would that build?

A community: a conglomeration of people from all walks of life, a range of diversity and absolute originality that could harken back to the days of “Old Portland.”  It’s a chance to not only Keep Portland Weird, but to put the city at the forefront of evolution. To try something before the rest of the world catches up. To pride Portland on innovation and progress. And when it comes down to it, what’s more Portland than that?
<![CDATA[Vertical City Film Debuts in New York]]>Fri, 08 Apr 2016 18:47:31 GMThttp://verticalcity.org/blogpage/vertical-city-film-debuts-in-new-yorkVertical City - a short documentary film that illustrates the importance and practicality of developing vertical cities - was recently released. To celebrate this significant step towards the creation of sustainable vertical cities our organization held a film release party at the Yale Club in New York City.
This event was jointly organized by our teams in New York City and Portland, Oregon. Those in attendance included:
Ken King, Vertical City Founder (right) & Lennon Richardson, Vertical City Marketing Coordinator (left). Shown here with Ming Tang who also helped to organize the event.
Corrie de Groot, Y.K. King & Susie Wang (from left to right)

​Ray King, Summer Fang, Karen Zhang and Xu Yanping also deserve recognition for helping to organize this event.

Special thanks to:
Brad Nemeth of ThyssenKrupp
Shown here speaking about the ropeless elevator innovation known as MULTI.
Dr. Jerry Cammarata who helped to facilitate this event and took many wonderful photos.
​Shown above with Ken King
Lauren Hauser and another event manager at the Yale Club.
​Lauren provided excellent service to us and was able to accommodate all of our needs.

​Many important contributors to the film also attended including:
Craig Leon, Film Director (second from right) and Alexander Leon, Soundtrack Composer (right) of Future History Films. Shown here with Sebastian Leon, Laura Donoso and Ken King.
Professor Dickson Despommier (right) of Columbia University and VerticalFarm.com who warned us of the rapid depletion of farmland due to humanities urban expansion.
​Shown with Jerry Cammarata (left) and Ken King
Didi Pei of Pei Partnership Architects who gave us the confidence that Vertical City will someday be a reality.
Maria Sevely of Pei Partnership Architects who outlined how podiums and sky-lobbies in vertical cities can enhance the inhabitants quality of life. Shown above with director Craig Leon.

We’d also like to recognize Dennis Poon of Thornton Tomasetti the structural Engineer who assured us that the construction of a mile high building is possible and Rick Barker of Barker Mohandas Vertical Transportation Consultants  who inspired us with the ropeless elevator technologies. As well as Corban Monger and Derek Zivolich for developing the 3D animation shown in the film.

This film would not have been possible if it were not for the numerous experts who contributed to the development of the vertical city book including:
Kellogg Wong (second from left) co-author and Dr. Janet Strong (right) editor of Vertical City: A Solution for Sustainable Living
Gregory Kiss (left) of Kiss + Cathcart Architects who expertise in architecturally integrated photovoltaics contributed greatly to the development of the vertical city concept.
​Shown speaking with Brad Nemeth and Lennon Richardson

​We’d also like to thank Liu Thai Ker master planner of Singapore and Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture who contributed generously to the vertical city concept.
Many other important and distinguished guests were also in attendance including:
Shu Ching and Robert Silin shown with Y.K. King
Anh Thu, Tom Piano and Tom Vogl
Lawyers Tim Satvisky (left) & Sam Israel
George Fan & Robert Silin
Michael and An Loeb shown with Y.K. King
Kathy Chow and Ed Jabbour of Kick Design Partners
Dr John and Susie Wang with Y.K. King
Michael Abtams, Kathy Chow and Henry Smedley
Eric and Eva Aeschlima
Anki King, Ken’s Norwegian “Cousin” shown with Dr. Jerry Cammarata
Alice Bolocan and  Emily Liu

We would like to thank everyone - especially those of you who are not mentioned above - for attending this historic event.

As our population continues to grow and our farmland is rapidly depleted, we recognize the need for an urgent solution.

The vertical city concept is not based on available technologies and leading experts from diverse fields say that it can be done. Building and maintaining vertical cities will allow us to save significant amounts of energy, time and money compared to conventional cities. Most importantly, we can save our land for nature or to grow food.  

We are deeply grateful to all of you who supported this concept.  

All photo credits belong to VerticalCity.org
<![CDATA[The True definition of a Vertical City]]>Tue, 15 Mar 2016 19:01:08 GMThttp://verticalcity.org/blogpage/the-true-definition-of-a-vertical-city
Credit of Image: Vertical City
With finite space and a growing human population, the natural direction of cities is ever upward. As architects, developers, and urban planners design and build higher urban environments, the current trend is to create large, multifunctional buildings (MFBs), most typically combining residential, hotel, and retail functions.

There are numerous benefits to building MFBs. By including a diversity of spaces and functions these buildings naturally appeal to a large number of people. These people are further attracted by the convenience of being able to live, work, eat and shop all in the same building. This convenience means that the need for transportation is reduced and in turn so is pollution.

In the media and throughout the blogosphere, many of these MFBs are being hailed as Vertical Cities. Considering this, there are two questions that often surface whenever Vertical Cities are discussed in any depth. What differentiates a Vertical City from a multifunctional building and what is the importance of that distinction?
Antony Wood, the director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat says that “The Shanghai Tower may be the closest architects have yet come to creating a ‘vertical city’,” yet this building does not include residential spaces, much less medical, educational or governmental facilities. Can you imagine a city without places to live, no doctors to visit, schools to attend, or social and governmental services? Probably not.

Clearly, the Shanghai Tower is a long way from an actual city. Other buildings such as the De Rotterdam Tower, the Vertical Village in Singapore, and the Burj Khalifa have also received the title. One might think, “So what, what’s in a name? A step in the right direction is a still a step.”  The answer to that question comes down to what kind of a step will be sufficient.   

While both MFB’s and VC’s are by nature multifunctional, a Vertical City is designed to provide all of the necessary functions that a city typically possesses, including recreational spaces, free public spaces, social and governmental services, education, energy, and food production. Existing MFBs, at the most, include residential, hotel, shopping, and office spaces. While this is certainly much more efficient and environmentally friendly than creating large collections of single use buildings, it does not fill as many needs as a Vertical City. Imagine a world in which almost everyone could live within a comfortable walking distance from their place of work.  Think of the energy and toil saved by a series of interconnected buildings that create horizontal green spaces in the sky that mimic ground spaces.

The more that the functions of our civilization-food production, energy, manufacturing, housing, healthcare, recreation, commerce, and exposure to nature- can be seamlessly and comfortably clustered together, the more lightly, efficiently, and harmoniously will we tread upon our beautiful planet.

Multifunctional buildings are clearly a movement in the right direction, but that movement needed to come yesterday. With the world population set to hit somewhere between 9 billion and 10 billion by 2050 and global climate change having ever more tangible effects, we, as a species, have found ourselves living in the eleventh hour with our backs to the wall. There certainly will  be other technological innovations that ease this transition. Advances in agricultural and food sciences, alternative energies, materials science, transportation, and computing may all have positive outcomes . Perhaps more food can be grown on less land?  Perhaps more products can be produced using fewer natural resources?  This may happen, but banking on the uncertain innovations of the future while ignoring the insightful solutions of the present is little different than hoping a term paper will “write itself” several hours before it’s due.  The only difference is what’s at stake.

​To date, no true vertical city exists. Our organization however, is dedicated to inspiring the construction of the world’s first vertical city. The collection of experts involved in this project believe that the technology exists to do so, and that the urgency to begin increases in every moment. The diverse theoretical and practical knowledge has been fleshed out in the book, Vertical City: A Solution for Sustainable Living. Written by Ken King and Kellogg Wong, it is the first and most comprehensive book written on vertical cities. The Vertical City concept has the potential to create a sustainable and dignified life for all.

​Thomas Howell is a freelance writer for Vertical City. He lives in Portland, Oregon and is an experienced meditation instructor. He is also the founder of Awakened Living blog.

Visit his meditation practice: The Ishayas' Ascension
Visit his blog site: Awakened Living