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Freshman Inquiry: Portland

How do our surroundings shape our lives? How do we shape our surroundings? In this course, the complex relationship between people and the places in which we live, recreate and work will be explored. We will specifically focus on Portland places: its place as a context for human development and cultural expression; its place as an urban area of diverse communities; its place within the natural, material, and social environment of the Pacific Northwest. We will discuss what connects people to their place(s) as well as what makes their place(s) part of their social, cultural, spiritual, economic and political life. We will read broadly, touching on cultural anthropology, urban studies, education and the natural sciences. We will provide opportunity for students to ground their understanding with applied experience by encouraging and supporting student interactions and field research within and among the communities and spaces of greater Portland.

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Sy Adler has been teaching urban studies and planning at Portland State since 1982. He is especially interested in social, economic, and political life in cities, and in understanding how Portland is both similar to and different than cities elsewhere. He has done many studies of transportation, environmental, land use and design issues in the Portland metropolitan area. He grew up in New York City, and studied and worked in the Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles areas before moving to Portland.

Leslie Batchelder a northwest native, grew up in a small town just east of Seattle. She holds a PhD in German cultural studies from the University of California at Davis. In addition to the Constructed Self, she also teaches Popular Culture and Women's Studies. Ms. Batchelder lives in Hillsboro with her computer crazed husband and her son Rhys.

Chet Orloff executive director of the Oregon Historical Society from 1991 to 2001, is a historian and planner, and adjunct professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University and adjunct instructor at the U of O School of Architecture. He is founding president of the Museum of the City. Prof. Orloff serves on numerous local, national, and international committees and commissions relating to history, city museums, and urban planning, and currently is chairing Portland’s central-city planning project.

Martha Works