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The 1% Solution: Revamping the Multnomah Arts Center Gallery

Back in 2010, I performed a musical piece to open the discussion on Arts and Culture in Portland as part of the City’s Portland Plan process. This is where I first met Michael Walsh, the Executive Director of Multnomah Arts Center Association. That particular event was at the Gerding Theater, an old armory converted into […]

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SERA Portland Postcard Project

by | January 16, 2014 0 Uncategorized

SERA’s Portland Postcard Project is an experiment in storytelling and placemaking, inspired by the Neighborhood Postcard Project. These postcards will help us understand what makes Portland, Portland. Fill a blank postcard with a drawing, photograph or simply your story. Be sure to check back here frequently, we will be posting a collection of our favorites. […]

Love-in-Sustainability3

Love in Sustainable Design

I’ve been passionate about good design and inspiring places most of my life.  Over those years and the centuries before, styles and fads have come and gone, ideas about what good design is, and ways of building things have all shifted significantly.  Without delving too deeply into the reasons, it seems fairly safe to say […]

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Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Suburban Communities

by | July 18, 2013 0 Urban Design + Planning

Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and transit oriented development… in other words, greener, more efficient forms of suburban “hardware.” While these strategies may lead towards greater efficiency, transformative change will require deeper intervention beyond re-forming and efficiency. Suburban areas must be re-imagined as whole communities animated by […]

Hospitality Design

The Dollars and Sense of Green Design: A Hospitality Study

At SERA, our work in the hospitality industry focuses on blending design, guest comfort, operational efficiency, and sustainable initiatives. About two years ago, I was talking to someone from a major hotel brand, who thought that green Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) added an extra 10% to the costs of a hotel refresh project. My […]

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The Challenge of the Creative Class – A Follow Up

In 2011, we wrote about Portland’s Creative Class slump, noting that, despite being generally regarded as one of the country’s preeminent “creative class” cities, Portland has failed to translate its reputation for livability into real economic gains. Given the city’s persistent struggles with unemployment, underemployment, and low wages (despite attracting artists, designers, intellectuals, hipsters, and […]

Design Competition

Celebrate Lafayette: Young SERA Designers Win Competition

Occasionally, a group of emerging designers here at SERA will pool their talents and take on an independent design challenge. Such was the case when Krystan Menne, Kristin Slavin, and Jodi Hanson heard about the “[Imagine Downtown] Lafayette, LA” open-ideas competition a few months ago. Not only did this interdisciplinary team of designers dive into this […]

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People Love What They Help Create

We have recently referenced some of the exciting augmented reality work we’ve been working on, but did you know that we’ve been using various technologies to engage the public during planning projects since the early 2000s? One of our goals at SERA has been to always communicate planning problems and potential solutions in ways that […]