Green Your City’s Blueprint: The tools to influence change

Individual actions — bicycling instead of driving, turning off lights, recycling — are often the first steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What we do collectively, though, can have a greater impact. Policies that change where we build are some of the best ways to lessen our shared footprint.

Too often, conversations about complex land-use solutions have not been in plain, accessible language. Updating a General Plan, a city’s blueprint for future development, is one of the best ways to address climate change, yet it’s a daunting task to take on if you don’t have a degree in urban planning.

Now, Greenbelt Alliance’s newest publication, Green Your City’s Blueprint: A Toolkit for Climate-Friendly General Plans, provides local advocates with clear instructions to change a general plan to be more climate-friendly and the tools to succeed.

The toolkit explains the basic structure of a general plan, and then describes specific language you can ask city staff to insert in each element. It provides step- by-step instructions for working with city staff and leaders. For those who want to know more about state rules, it also gives an overview of California legislation that impacts how city’s plan for the future.

Green Your City’s Blueprint benefits from the expertise and experience of Greenbelt Alliance’s long history of advocacy, including the good policies that have been added to San Jose’s General Plan. And the toolkit will be essential as Bay Area cities move to comply with requirements for a Sustainable Communities Strategy.

“Each community can make profound reductions in greenhouse gases by reshaping development patterns over time. Green Your City’s Blueprint explains how general plans can save open space, strengthen neighbor- hoods, and reduce how much we drive,” said Matthew Taecker, Principal Planner for Downtown Berkeley, and Secretary for the California Planning Roundtable. “It is a must read for anyone interested in taking on climate change at home.”

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