Potato Champion 2Via today’s Sightline Daily: city councilors in Victoria are debating the future of food carts in their city, and the Times-Colonist encourages them to take a cue from Portland.

They fear noise and odors from the food carts will disrupt the community—but these problems have been handled adequately in dozen of other cities, not to mention the positive tourism attention that quirky carts can bring.

I’ve argued before that food carts can play a role in creating affordable, compact communities and add to a vibrant urban culture. But maybe there’s a larger lesson to be learned from Victoria’s reaction: sometimes, sustainability means getting out of the way of good ideas.

Food carts, backyard cottages, or “car-free” Sundays—all have run up against opponents who worry that they’ll change the character of city neighborhoods. Sure, change can be scary. But often as not, boosting livability in cities means accepting some changes. And as Portland’s burgeoning food carts show, sometimes those changes can be…delicious.

So, Victoria, what’s it going to be?


Photo is my current favorite Portland food cart serving up delicious—if not the most healthy—poutine, courtesy of megaul under the Creative Commons license.