In Livable Cities Is Preservation Of The Wild

About Us

The Urban Greenspaces Institute was founded by Executive Director Mike Houck and the Institute's board of directors in 1999. The Institute is the only non-profit organization in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region that works exclusively on urban parks, trails, and greenspace issues in the almost 3,000-square-mile Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington Intertwine region.

The Case for Urban Greenspaces and The Intertwine

Henry David Thoreau's aphorism, "In wildness is the preservation of the world," has driven the conservation agenda for over a century. The emphasis has been, first and foremost, the protection of wilderness, pristine habitats, forest, and agricultural lands in the rural landscape. While these efforts are laudable and essential, if we hope to continue protecting rural resource lands into the 21st century, one critical strategy will be creating more livable cities and metropolitan regions. Therefore, we adopted our motto as a new corollary to Thoreau's mantra: "In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild."

Furthermore, it will only be by creating livable and loveable urban communities that we will build public support for compact cities. However, the quid pro quo for higher density, compact cities is better protection and, where necessary, restoration of a vibrant urban green infrastructure of healthy streams, fish and wildlife habitat, parks, and recreational trails where the vast majority of our population lives—in our cities. The Institute collaborates with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, architects and landscape architects, and others to achieve its mission. 

The primary focus of the Institute's work is assisting in the creation and work of The Intertwine Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporate partners collaborating to create a world-class, interconnected system of parks, trails, and natural areas.

The Institute's executive director brings more than 35 years of experience in issues related to urban parks, trails and greenspaces. Our board of directors and advisory board are all ardent supporters of or professionals in the fields of natural resource and urban parks and greenspace management. Collectively, they bring an enormous degree of experience and expertise to support the Institute's mission and work.