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Sustainable Business Oregon: Looking for insight on Portland's future? Let's take a ride
Author: Thad Miller, Portland State University
Posted: August 15, 2013
Thad Miller is an assistant professor of urban civic ecology and sustainable communities at Portland State University’s Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. His research explores how science and technology affect our ability to advance ur

Thad Miller is an assistant professor of urban civic ecology and sustainable communities at Portland State University’s Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. His research explores how science and technology affect our ability to advance urban sustainability.

From green buildings to green infrastructure, it would seem technology is essential to our efforts to advance urban sustainability goals.

But, how might new technologies affect Portland? Which technologies matter most for you and your community? How would you choose to direct technology?

These are the essential questions we will look to explore in the Futurescape City Tours. This fall, a group of citizen researchers, along with scientists from Portland State University, will explore how the past shapes the present, how technology affects our lives, and where the future is emerging today.

Coordinated by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, the Futurescape City Tours will launch in six cities across the country this fall—Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., Springfield, Mass., Durham, N.C., Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Here are the details on the Portland leg.

The core of the project involves a walking tour of Portland, where participants will be asked to take photos that document places they see the past persisting, what they see as the present, and where they see the future emerging. They’ll be asked to pay particular attention to the role of technologies at play in each location.

In addition to the tour and photography, we’ll hear from experts on topics including transportation, solar energy, biofuels and any other subjects that might be identified by the group as important to the future of sustainability in Portland.

We will explore questions like: How might nanotechnology change the way we treat and manage wastewater? How do decisions about urban development in the past effect future actions? How might new technologies, like biotechnology, change the way we approach urban agriculture in Portland?

The Futurescape City Tours are a research partnership between PSU and ASU's Center for Nanotechnology in Society. The Portland tour is partially funded by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State.

Results of the tour will contribute to our understanding of how to incorporate citizen’s voices in the development and deployment of new technologies, and provide the opportunity for participants to take on critical issues for Portland’s future with fellow Portlanders, PSU researchers and other key stakeholders.

We’re looking for a diverse set of participants to join us in this exercise. If thinking about the past, present and future of Portland is something you enjoy doing, take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey and join us when we embark on our city tour in October.