The Bay Area is among the nation’s most desirable places to live and work. It is projected that by 2040 our region will have 2 million more residents than it does today. That’s the equivalent of adding two cities the size of San Jose to the region.
To meet the needs of this growing population, the Bay Area will need 660,000 new homes, affordable across the income spectrum. This expected growth is both a threat and an opportunity.
If growth is handled badly it will consume the Bay Area’s iconic greenbelt of farms, ranches, and natural areas. People living in new sprawling subdivisions will be given little choice other than to drive, in snarled traffic, long distances for work and other needs. All this driving will increase the Bay Area’s carbon footprint and contribute to air pollution that causes asthma and many other health issues.
But if growth is handled well, the development of new homes can be linked to improving our existing cities and towns—such as investing in parks, bike lanes, sidewalks, public transit, and other amenities. If Bay Area cities and towns build a range of housing types, affordable across the income spectrum, the housing needs of both future and existing Bay Area residents can be met. By growing smartly, the people of the Bay Area will have more options to walk, ride bikes, and use public transit rather than having to drive and, in doing so, we can reduce our carbon footprint and reduce air pollution. If the Bay Area gets growth right we can be a model for the rest of California, the nation, and the world.
At Greenbelt Alliance we shape the rules that govern how the Bay area grows. We advocate for plans, policies, and funding programs that enable communities to get growth right. We have expertise in areas like urban planning, affordable housing, and transportation choices and we share this expertise with elected leaders so they can put the right tools in place to guide growth in their communities. We mobilize residents across the region to participate in decisions about growth and to help them be strong supporters of the right development in the right places. And to ensure that development doesn’t happen in the wrong places, we prevent sprawl development from consuming the Bay Area’s one-of-a-kind greenbelt.
We’ll achieve our goals by:
- Engaging residents, community-based organizations, and decision-makers to shape visionary plans for how Bay Area cities and neighborhoods will grow;
- Bringing plans for the right kinds of development within our cities and towns to life by encouraging communities to guide well-planned development and by supporting specific development proposals consistent with smart growth principles;
- Urging regional agencies and local governments to invest their dollars in smart growth and to address the region’s housing crisis in ways that benefit Bay Area residents across the socio-economic spectrum.
Did you know: Since the 1990s, Greenbelt Alliance has endorsed over 175 proposals to build new homes, affordable across the income spectrum, within the boundaries of our existing cities and towns and near public transit. These proposals total about 70,000 new homes, roughly the number of homes in Fremont, CA—the Bay Area’s 4th largest city.
photo: Zoe Meyers ©