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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Find out about the process and when to submit your project.


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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.

Samantha is an Oakland-based policy researcher and analyst. She is currently serving as a Policy Associate at the Urban Institute’s Research to Action Lab, where she works on projects exploring how public policy can foster more equitable and sustainable communities. Before Urban, Samantha worked at the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley, on the analytics team for the 2016 Clinton campaign, and at the University of Chicago's Center for Data Science and Public Policy. She holds a master of public administration degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor's degree from McGill University.

Ben is an architect that has experience working across a range of scales from public art installations and pavilions to large scale masterplans. He initially gained experience in housing working in Switzerland on award winning social housing projects. More recently, he has worked on both modular and mass timber affordable housing projects in the Bay Area as well high-rise student housing in Australia. Sustainability is at the core of his design philosophy—he has served in multiple advocacy and advisory roles and is currently the sustainability coordinator for Hassell’s San Francisco office. Throughout all his work, Ben seeks to find inventive and regenerative solutions to challenges facing our cities and built environment. He believes that housing is a fundamental human right and is essential for creating social equality in our cities.

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.

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!

Warren Logan is an Oakland resident with a strong history of public service and community engagement. Professionally, Warren is a partner at Lighthouse Public Affairs where he manages government relations and strategic communication projects. Before working in the private sector Warren worked in several public agencies including the City of Berkeley’s Transportation Division managing parking and travel demand management, the City and County of San Francisco managing shared mobility policy, and the Mayor’s Office of Oakland managing local, regional and state transportation policy. Personally, Warren enjoys riding his electric bike around Oakland, playing with his corgi QE and German Shepherd Frankie, and spending time with friends. Warren received his Master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design in 2013 and his B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College in 2011.

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 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 currently works at the World Resources Institute on advancing a just transition for school bus electrification. She previously worked at the California Strategic Growth Council, designing and implementing the Transformative Climate Communities Program, an investment model for community-driven resilience planning and infrastructure. She has also worked as an environmental planner on local transportation projects, and as a consultant on sustainable land use and development projects in the U.S. and internationally.

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.

Ellen Morris is a Director of Real Estate Development at Eden Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Hayward. Since joining Eden in 2016, Ellen has managed the design, entitlements, permitting, and financing of over 500 units of high quality affordable housing in Alameda, Solano, San Joaquin, and Santa Cruz counties. Prior to working as an affordable housing developer, Ellen worked in housing regulatory compliance and economic development. She has a Masters in City Planning from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies & Planning and an undergraduate degree from Colby College. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband, toddler, and dog.

Sally Greenspan is a Senior Director at Enterprise Community Partners, where she leads Enterprise’s NorCal Climate program. In this role, Sally works to implement programs that address the joint challenges of housing affordability and climate change and create more sustainable, resilient, equitable communities. Sally has worked with dozens of housing developers, transit agencies, and cities across the state to secure nearly $3 billion in funding to build integrated housing, transportation, and urban greening projects. Sally’s background includes positions in private real estate, architecture, public policy & research, and urban planning. She holds a B.A. in urban studies from Stanford University, and a M.U.P. in urban planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Holly is an urban environmentalist living and loving SF who’d like to give back to the community by advocating for more sustainable, equitable housing in the area. By day she leads a product marketing team that tells stories and launches products to help people better collaborate in a hybrid working world.
Niran Somasundaram is an attorney at Hanson Bridgett LLP, working at the intersection of development and climate change. Niran’s practice focuses on designing entitlement and permitting strategies for projects that complement Federal, State, regional, and local goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, efficient and sustainable energy use, resource protection, and climate adaptation. Niran has experience advocating for a variety of residential and infrastructure developments throughout the State.

Sandy Elles retired from careers in the non-profit sector and maritime industry. She spent decades working collaboratively to develop sustainability principles and programs for California agriculture and smart growth policies for the Bay Area region. She served eight years on the Cotati City Council, promoted Urban Growth Boundaries, and helped lay the foundation for transit-oriented development along the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) corridor. During her tenure on the City Council, Sandy served on the Association of Bay Area Governments, Sonoma County Transportation Authority, and Sonoma County Open Space Advisory Committee, helping to create and fund the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Opens Space District. Sandy continued to advocate for agricultural land preservation while serving as the Executive Director of the Napa County Farm Bureau (2001-2016) and board member of the Jack L. Davies Napa Valley Agricultural Land Preservation Fund (2001-present). Elles worked 22 years with the Blue & Gold Fleet on San Francisco Bay, advancing to the positions of Vice President of Ferry Services and Senior Captain, and developed the Green Waves program. Elles holds a degree in political science from American University and a degree in Urban Planning from Rutgers University.

Chris is a Principal of Brookwood Partners and co-leads the firm’s real estate development and strategic advisory services in California. Brookwood Partners focuses on helping public school districts and community college districts throughout the state develop underutilized and surplus land into urban infill multifamily housing. Projects include housing for the district’s faculty and staff or developments that generate an ongoing revenue stream for the district. In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling and photography and being outdoors including skiing, surfing, and hiking.

endorsed projects

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: 847 Woodside Road

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to endorse Eden Housing’s proposed residential development 847 Woodside Road Housing Project in Redwood City. This 100% affordable housing development will include 86 new homes at varying affordability levels. The project is centrally located on Woodside Road and close to essential amenities, such as a full-service supermarket and pharmacy. The SamTrans

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Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Cabrillo Unified School District Workforce Housing Project

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to endorse Cabrillo Unified School District’s (CUSD) Workforce Housing Project, a proposed residential development in Half Moon Bay. This innovative development envisions 60 units with 20% affordability. ​All units will be leased to CUSD employees at heavily discounted rents with 12 deed-restricted units that will include: four at 50% Area Median

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Serramonte Del Rey

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Serramonte Del Rey Neighborhood

Update: Greenbelt Alliance is excited that The Daly City City Council approved the Serramonte Del Rey project in March 2024! Greenbelt Alliance is excited to endorse Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD)’s Serramonte Del Rey Neighborhood, a proposed mixed-use development in Daly City. This innovative development envisions 1,113 units with 20% low and moderate income

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Serramonte Del Rey Neighborhood

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: 3051 Edison Way

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to announce Novin Development Corporation’s 3051 Edison Way 70 unit 100% affordable housing development in Redwood City has been endorsed. This development will replace a surface parking lot, located 1.25 miles from Downtown Redwood City and 2 miles from Downtown Menlo Park, providing strongly needed affordable housing to the area. This

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Join Our Climate SMART Development Endorsement Committee

Greenbelt Alliance’s Climate SMART Development Endorsement Program is expanding its evaluation committee and applications are now open until January 15, 2024. Get to know our current members. The DEP committee provides support and show public endorsement for housing development projects that advance the right kind of development in the right places across the Bay Area

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Growing Sustainably: Housing Advocacy Through the Decades

For Affordable Housing Month, South Bay Resilience Manager Jordan Grimes discusses Greenbelt Alliance’s history of advocating for sustainable and equitable development to protect the Bay Area’s landscapes and communities.Since our inception, Greenbelt Alliance has stood for the protection and preservation of the Bay Area’s wild lands and open spaces. In service of this mission, we

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