Climate SMART Development Endorsement Program

Promoting climate-smart development to create thriving, resilient neighborhoods with ready access to transit and housing choices for all of the Bay Area’s people while continuing to protect the greenbelt from sprawl development—preserving our open spaces for generations to come.

The biggest threats to our region’s stability are our changing climate, and the growing number of residents burdened by rising housing costs. Our goal is to encourage more development in the Bay Area that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases our resilience to climate-related risks like floods, fires, and drought. The Greenbelt Alliance Climate SMART Endorsement Program provides an essential environmental perspective on building housing within existing communities in the Bay Area.

As a trusted advocate of both open spaces and climate-smart communities, Greenbelt Alliance is in a unique position to help infill development projects move forward.

climate smart Principles

What is Climate SMART Development?

Sustainable → Social and Environmental Health
Mixed → Housing, Shopping, Jobs in close proximity
Affordable → Equitable, Diverse, and Thriving Communities
Resilient → Adapting to Climate Change and Hazards
Transit-Oriented → Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emission

Every Development We Endorse:

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and builds resilience to climate impacts.
Promotes equity, fosters community resilience, and protects vulnerable people and lands. 
Prioritizes natural and green infrastructure solutions to enhance and protect natural resources, as well as urban environments. 
Preserves and restores ecological systems that enhance natural system functions, services, and quality and that reduce risk.

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The Endorsement Committee

The Greenbelt Alliance Climate SMART guidelines were developed in close partnership with the Development Endorsement Committee with assistance from Gabriel Kaprielian. Our Development Endorsement Committee consists of the following dedicated environmentalists, urban planners, housing advocates, government officials, and other experts.

Abigail Ramsden is a Project Director in the Climate program of The Nature Conservancy. In this role, she establishes strategic priorities and supports conservation partnerships throughout California, with a focus on advanced mitigation, greenprints, and collaborative conservation planning. Currently, she engages a wide array of partners to bring data and principles from the world of natural resource conservation into land use decision-making processes that affect public and private lands. She joined the Conservancy’s California Chapter in 2012 after practicing land use and conservation law in San Francisco. She holds a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Annie Ryan is an urban designer with a background in master planning, transit-oriented development, and urban design policy at the intersection of mobility access, social equity, and environmental justice. She sees urban design as an urgent opportunity to re-imagine the way our cities look and function, and address mistakes of the past that have harmed our communities and environmental systems. As a project manager at Hassell, Annie is helping clients with large campuses transition from the old office park paradigm into more complete, integrated neighborhoods that connect housing, jobs, and daily amenities to transit, and enable more liveable, low-carbon, people-oriented development outcomes.

Anu Natarajan is the Chair of the Public Policy Committee on the Board of Directors for Greenbelt Alliance. She was elected to the Fremont City Council and served for ten years. On Council, she was an advocate for sensible, sensitive and sustainable planning as the engine for economic growth and community building. She believes in the importance of placemaking. She represented Fremont on regional and national boards such as Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Boardmember of the Local Government Commission, Stopwaste and Recycling Board of Alameda County, Housing Authority of Alameda County and SPUR San Jose. She enjoys both politics and policy making and considers herself to be a policy wonk. Anu has a background in architecture, urban design and planning and is a LEED AP. She has professional experience as a planner in both agency and consulting roles, and has also worked as an architect. In her work with the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley, Anu focused on community engagement and outreach by building a network of networks and using technology in innovative ways. She is currently working with Facebook. Anu volunteers with community organizations, and also enjoys exploring new cities and their architecture, meeting people, and reading. She and her husband are raising their daughter in Fremont.

John Gibbs is a member of the Greenbelt Alliance Board of Directors. John is a landscape architect and urban designer with over 20 years of experience. As a Landscape Architect & Urban Designer at WRT, he shares WRT’s deep commitment to environmentally rooted planning and design excellence.
His work reflects his belief that open space infrastructure, whether at the scale of parks, landscaped plazas, or streets, is a crucial and integral part of creating quality urban environments. He is a practice leader in WRT’s Parks and Open Space, and Community Design practices where he is committed to enhancing community open space—from park system planning to detailed design—and expanding mobility options through complete streets, trails, and district pedestrian networks. Community engagement is fundamental to all facets of John’s work and his outreach skills are valued by clients who seek outcomes rooted in productive public dialogue.

Lee Mei Development Endorsement Program
Lee Mei explored architecture as a second career after medicine, and found a new love in passive solar design and sustainability overall. After toiling over energy saving, material use responsibility, health and ergonomic details in individual dwellings, it became clear that transportation, city planning, housing, efficient design and social economic solutions are bigger issues with a far bigger impact. California leads the nation in decades of Energy Code requirements that kept per capita energy consumption pretty level, but it needs to build in more incentive for smallness. Lee believes we need to replace suburban sprawl with New Urbanism, where life is convenient, work and facilities are accessible, streets are walkable, and community spirits nurture the soul. Lee was born and raised in China and Hong Kong, came to Sacramento for college, then UCSF for medical school. She is also fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Milo Trauss a housing advocate and urbanist. He believes in the power of smart urban design to facilitate human and ecological wellbeing. He currently serves as the managing partner of GCA Strategies which has been helping clients communicate to communities and local governments about land use proposals for decades, before “NIMBY” and “YIMBY” were household terms. He has conducted strategic communications campaigns for ballot measures, candidates, and for the approval of thousands of homes throughout the Bay Area, as well solar farms, camp sites, and other sustainable development nationally. In his spare time Milo is an avid lover of sports, nature and coffee shops!

Miranda Everitt Development Endorsement Program

Miranda Everitt is a 12-year resident of Oakland and a Vice President at FM3 Research, a public policy and opinion research firm based in Oakland. In her work, she has focused on her research on policy reform in the criminal legal system, conservation, and climate issues, contributing to the passage of state and local ballot measures in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Washington, D.C. She regularly works for government, nonprofit and private clients throughout the Bay Area examining public attitudes toward a wide variety of policy issues.
Miranda’s career includes experience with communications and policy research at California Budget and Policy Center, SEIU Healthcare MN, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute for Law and Social Policy, Justice in Aging, and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Prior to her policy career, she worked for the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Toledo Free Press. Miranda holds a Master’s of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a journalism degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She is an avid backpacker with special affection for the Bay Area’s trails and open spaces.

Remi Tan Development Endorsement Program

Remi Tan is a highly creative licensed senior architect, sustainability consultant, and real estate broker with 30+ years of experience in a broad range of domestic and international projects: government, transportation, education, office, interiors, high-tech, hospitality, retail, health care, high-rise, mid-rise , low-rise mixed-use, master planning, multi-family, affordable, senior, production, & custom residential. He has expertise in all aspects of “green” or sustainable design – appropriate building siting, daylighting, energy conservation, sustainable/healthy materials, and smart growth master planning principles. He is a licensed Architect in the State of California since 1994 and enjoys long walks on the beach, Sculpting, painting, jazz trombonist, skiing, skating, bicycling, aviation, automobiles, and travel.

Sam Rosen works in entitlement and permitting for SummerHill Housing Group in the South Bay, specializing in climate smart infill housing master plans. Sam has worked on the full spectrum of residential development from infill single family detached projects to denser apartments. Sam has worked in the real estate industry directly since 2017, and worked in urban economics and city governance before that. Sam brings experience from the other side of the table to the GreenBelt Alliance’s Development Endorsement Committee and provides his expertise to make sure the proposed projects are feasible. Sam graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 2016 and completed his undergrad at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2011.

Sophie Young is an environmental and community development planner. She has worked on sustainable and equitable development initiatives in under resourced communities for over ten years. She currently serves as the Transformative Climate Communities Program Manager at the California Strategic Growth Council, overseeing investments in community-led resilience projects at the neighborhood scale. Prior, she worked as an environmental planner and consultant on various land use and development projects in the U.S. and abroad.

Stephanie Rodriguez Development Endorsement Program

Stephanie Reyes has over 15 years of experience in policy research, program design and advocacy in the housing and environmental fields. She is currently a Housing Finance Specialist with the California Department of Housing and Community Development in the Division of State Financial Assistance. In this role, Stephanie helps design and implement state funding programs including the Foreclosure Intervention Housing Preservation Program. Earlier in her career, Stephanie spent 10 years in multiple roles at Greenbelt Alliance, including overseeing policy research and publications and guiding advocacy campaigns. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

endorsed projects

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Woodland Park Euclid Improvements

Update: On November 2, 2022, the East Palo Alto City Council approved the Woodland Park Euclid Improvements project! Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse Woodland Park Euclid Improvements project by Sand Hill Property Company in East Palo Alto. This new proposal would replace several aging, 100-year-old structures with new mixed-income buildings that add 445

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: 1885 S. Norfolk Street (Fish Market Project)

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse Windy Hill Property Ventures’ 1885 S. Norfolk Street Project in San Mateo, which would convert a dated commercial building and large surface parking lot into 321 badly-needed new multi-family homes for city workers and residents, adding to the housing supply in a transit and jobs-rich area. 1885 S.

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: CCA Campus Redevelopment

After careful review, Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse the California College of the Arts (CCA) Campus Redevelopment project—also known as 5212 Broadway—by the Emerald Fund and Equity Community Builders in Oakland. The development team hopes to bring much-needed housing to the area and help meet the growing needs of the community. Take action to

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Civic Center Multifamily Housing Project

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse the Civic Center Multifamily Housing Project by Charities Housing in Santa Clara. The Civic Center development would bring much-needed affordable housing to Santa Clara, which is in dire need of more homes that are accessible to low and moderate-income families. According to the Santa Clara County Housing Need Report,

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Spieker Senior Development

​​Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse the Spieker Senior Continuing Care Community project by Spieker Senior Development Partners. This project would bring more homes to cater to our elderly population, providing amenities, access to open space, and sustainable infrastructure in Walnut Creek. This new proposal would span an area of approximately 30.6-acres in unincorporated

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: San Mateo’s Block 21

Updated on June 22, 2022, to reflect new information. Originally published on May 19, 2022. Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse Windy Hill Property Ventures’ Block 21 development project in San Mateo. The project was unanimously approved by the San Mateo City Council on June 20, 2022, after dozens of advocates took action and

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