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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Developing Local Support for Portland's Public Schools

85% of people in central Portland have no children of school age. A hackathon uncovered ways to help connect those residents to their local school.

When a team from Wieden + Kennedy confronted its challenge to engage the community in public schools for GOOD Ideas for Cities Portland, a surprising statistic came to the forefront: 85% of people in central Portland have no children of school age. With so few residents with a natural link to education, Portland’s public schools are struggling to develop community support.

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Portlanders, Join a Hackathon for Public Schools on June 2

Calling all developers and designers in Portland: Put your skills to good use at this one-day event to help local schools.

GOOD Ideas for Cities hosted an event in Portland, Oregon earlier this year, assigning each of six creative teams to one of six challenges facing the city. One of those challenges came from Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who asked how the city's public schools could be better supported by the local community. A team from Wieden + Kennedy tackled that challenge, presenting several ideas for how to get the 85 percent of Portland's population without school-age children more involved in public education.

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Public Spaces That Promote Activity

In many U.S. metropolitan areas, half of the population is overweight. How can we redesign streets and public spaces to encourage exercise?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxOWkcAamw4

The statistics are not on Americans' side when it comes to obesity. In Oregon's Multnomah County, for example, half the population is overweight, which is fairly representative of many counties around the country. Some of the blame can be placed on the way our lives have been designed for cars. So how to transform our cities to make citizens more physically active? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Portland, Official Mfg. Co. presented their idea for creating public spaces that encourage healthier lifestyles. The team developed several infrastructure improvements, from giant kinetic sculptures to encourage active play to pedal-powered parking meters that required physical activity to park. But they also wanted people to see they had a choice for activity when taking transportation. So a new feature would be added to the online transit planner that would allow a user to "add exercise" to their transit plans.

Challenge: Today one of every two adults in Multnomah County is overweight or obese. The way we build our cities is part of the problem. How might we re-think our public spaces to promote public health and more active lifestyles?


Department of Planning, City of Portland: Eric Engstrom, principal planner

Official Mfg. Co.: Mathew Foster, Jeremy Pelley, Fritz Mesenbrink

To learn more about this idea contact Official Mfg. Co.

Video by Paul Searle

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Making Local Farmers More Profitable

Many farmers are reporting that they are making less money than ever. How changing the way we buy local produce can ensure their profitability.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4rQliQwpp0

Even as more attention is being paid to bringing farm fresh produce to urban areas, many rural farmers are reporting shrinking profits. How can we ensure the success of these small businesses that are so valuable to a region's health and well being? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Portland, Sincerely Interested presented their ideas for how to help small, local farmers become more profitable. Starting with a campaign that brings visuals from farm life into the city, the team proposed some non-traditional ways for the public to engage with buying local produce, from night markets (complete with beer gardens, of course), to artist-farmer collaborations in greenhouses that pop up on city streets.

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Supporting Neighborhood Public Schools

How to get residents of a city to support their local public school? Make it as popular as the neighborhood bar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4Ozk8l_Nlw

Plagued with funding shortfalls, public schools across the country are looking for support from outside their walls. How should we engage local businesses and residents to help keep them strong? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Portland, a team from Wieden + Kennedy presented their idea for how to get Portlanders more invested in their local public schools. From a campaign to encourage childless citizens to volunteer or donate to creating desirable hipster-quality merchandise featuring local school mascots, the idea is to raise the level of pride and awareness each Portland resident has for their local school.

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