Depaving Portland

Who says cities have to be islands of concrete?
Depave Portland

The residents of Portland, Ore. are tearing their city up.


The Portland-based nonprofit Depave, in partnership with Carfree Portland, has been organizing volunteer work parties to remove thousands of square feet of concrete pavement and "free the soil" beneath. According to, getting rid of unnecessary pavement will "reduce stormwater pollution and increase the amount of land available for habitat restoration, urban farming, trees, native vegetation, and beauty, thus providing us with greater connections to the natural world." That's a lot of benefit to leave wrapped in cement.

But it's not all jackhammers and bits of broken rock. Working with local property owners, Depave teams have been replacing barren parking lots with urban gardens and community green spaces—key contributors to healthy, livable cities.


  • :: Simple steps for day-to-day liberation. Go ahead: free your world.
  • :: One day a year, residents reclaim parking spaces as public parks—and have their say about how small but precious pieces of urban real estate are used.