The Portland Badassness Map is a map of Portland neighborhoods ranked according to an arbitrary set of indicators that were chosen to represent Portland. These indicators, when combined, were used to represent and determine which neighborhoods were, in essenece, the most Portland — or the most badass.
The maps were created largely as a joke and in response to the 20-Minute Neighborhoods map that was carefully constructed by the City of Portland. This initiative was to create awareness of the areas which needed improvement to reach one of the objectives in Portland’s Climate Action Plan for 2030: vibrant neighborhoods in which 90% of Portland residents can easily walk or bicycle to meet all basic daily, non-work needs. One of the objectives seeked to address food deserts -- areas where there are few grocery stores within walking distance.
While the City of Portland’s analysis is certainly useful in achieving this goal, the methodology can easily be used to illustrate the most badass places in Portland. Even “badass deserts.” The question was: what is badass? We used popular perceptions of Portland -- those things that made Portland "Portland" -- like the huge number of breweries, strip clubs, pinball machines, and the incessant need to shop local to define what was badass. So we mapped them. In the end, we had eight separate variables:
Breweries, bars and strip clubs
Places that had pinball machines
Supportland merchants (rewards for shopping local)
MAX stops (light rail)
Food cart pods (clustering of food carts -- we don't call them food trucks)
Cheap land prices (as a proxy for inexpensive)
Network analysis on bike lanes
In the badassness analysis, the Boise neighborhood was the most came out on top. It is also the neighborhood commonly believed to be the most affected by gentrification. A conscious decision was made to avoid selecting indicators that would give precedence to the densest neighborhoods in the city (the Northwest and Pearl neighborhoods) yet several of the inner westside neighborhoods score very highly, including the Goose-Hollow neighborhood.
Some selected press:
1/31/11 CEOS for Cities: “A goup of Portlanders have posted this video in response to the city’s famed “20 Minute Neighborhood” map with a more nuanced version of why they have chosen to live and work in the “mecca of badass-ness.”
4/26/11 KPAM 890AM First Edition: “And do you have a neighborhood that is most likely to ‘put a bird on it?'”
4/27/11 KATU: “The pair threw all this data into a formula and the badass-ness scale was born. The top scorers fall into the “hella badass” category and the lowest scorers fall into the “Vancouver-ish” category (sorry, Vancouver).”
4/28/11 Seattle Weekly: “Watching Portlandia or hearing tales about Portland from one’s beflanneled friends, it’s easy to imagine that the entire city is nothing but record stores, vintage pinball bars, and bicycle co-ops. But it turns out that dense concentrations of hipster comforts are only found in parts of the city. But where, you ask? There’s a map for that.”