Green

Ever-changing population predictions frustrate Bay Area smart-growth planning

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 25 2012 - 12:38pm

State and regional planning agencies have produced differing predictions of how many people will migrate to the Bay Area in coming decades. The disagreement is frustrating efforts to forge a consensus on how many hundreds of thousands of new homes to build across the region, and where. In May, the California Department of Finance took a fresh look at economic forecasts and officially backed away from its prediction that 9.5 million people would live in the Bay Area in 2040. The state now says it is likely to be closer to 8.4 million. But the Association of Bay Area Governments pegged the population for the same 2040 target date at a robust 9.3 million. The agency is charged with developing Plan Bay Area, an ambitious agenda to reshape the sprawling region by building 660,000 new homes in the urban image of walkable, transit-friendly San Francisco.

Map: Where we live now — 2010 household density and priority development areas

Darin Jensen, Madeleine Theriault and Mike Jones, SF Public Press — Jun 22 2012 - 12:34pm

Part of the challenge facing regional planners, who wrote the 30-year Plan Bay Area, is that it is hard to predict future population growth. The current list of more than 200 potential priority development areas in the plan tracks established high-density zones closely, indicating that the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and other regional agencies want to fill in developments in areas that are already highly urbanized or near mass transit lines, instead of in undeveloped or underdeveloped suburban settings. This map helps readers of the Public Press’s summer edition special project, Growing Smarter: Planning for a Bay Area of 9 Million, understand these trends.

Officials say planning for regional smart growth prevents ‘a world of hurt’

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jun 15 2012 - 10:21pm

The leaders of Bay Area planning agencies are struggling to persuade local governments and community groups that joint planning will make the region more socially, economically and environmentally healthy. Dealing with sprawl, the focus of the summer print edition of the Public Press, was front and center on Friday’s edition of “Forum,” the daily public-affairs talk show on KQED Radio.

San Francisco activists wary of U.N. climate reunion in Rio

Ruth Tam, SF Public Press — Jun 7 2012 - 12:33pm

The Bay Area is the unofficial headquarters of the green movement and the progenitor of the United Nations. So locally based environmental groups are particularly annoyed this week that the U.S. government continues to sideline climate change as world leaders prepare to gather in Brazil in late June.

Bayview community garden program in peril as funding dries up

Leigh Cuen, SF Public Press — Mar 19 2012 - 12:05pm

Responding to food insecurity, neighbors cultivate network of plots to provide locally grown bounty and education

This story appears in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

The Quesada Gardens Initiative, which has helped green and revitalize one of San Francisco’s most economically neglected neighborhoods, is struggling to survive as funding is running dry. Formed in 2002 as a community-building effort by Bayview residents, it has gone on to transform portions of the community, spreading through vacant lots, backyards and community spaces. It has also begun to produce significant quantities of food for a neighborhood where the available of healthy options is limited.

Bay Area's urban planning must address public health, says study

Bernice Yeung, California Watch — Jan 16 2012 - 4:06pm

For nearly four years, Cassandra Martin lived in West Oakland, a few blocks from two freeways and the city’s port. This has made her an accidental expert on air pollution. “I used to wonder what that black stuff was on the windowsill,” said Martin, who was diagnosed with asthma in 2009. “I would constantly wipe the walls and windowsills, but it would get so caked with soot. That’s a reason I was wondering about particulate matter.”

Ocean Beach Master Plan envisions big changes for Great Highway

Jon Brooks, KQED News — Nov 8 2011 - 12:00pm

Have you heard about the Ocean Beach Master Plan? The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) is facilitating a coordinated effort among multiple agencies to create a "sustainable long-range plan" for San Francisco's shoreline. Why do we need a plan? Because erosion of the beach and anticipated rising sea levels may necessitate major changes in the infrastructure that serves the area.

Construction begins on largest restoration in San Pablo Bay refuge

Juliet Grable, Bay Nature — Oct 27 2011 - 7:11pm

At first glance, Cullinan Ranch isn't much to look at. Bound by Dutchman Slough to the north and Highway 37 to the south, the Solano County property consists of 1,500 acres of low-lying fields, dotted with clumps of cattails and coyote brush. Only some earth-moving equipment parked on the site hints that this former farmland is about to become the largest restored marsh in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

New roots for green businesses

Brian Scoles, Earth Island Journal — Oct 24 2011 - 1:22pm

As the world economy increasingly collides with the limits of linear, “cradle-to-grave” production, more eyes are turning towards resource synergies, upcycling, and improved efficiencies to relieve some economic pressure and get more value with less waste. Take coffee. For every pound of coffee beans harvested (of which there were 17 billion in 2010, according to the International Coffee Organization), four pounds of pulp must be collected, and it is generally considered a waste product that is left in heaps to rot. But some companies, such as Equator Coffees & Teas and Thanksgiving Coffee, are supporting efforts to train farmers in Zimbabwe and Tanzania how to use coffee pulp as a substrate for growing oyster mushrooms.

Oakland's Claremont Canyon, 20 years after the fire

Daniel McGlynn, Bay Nature — Oct 20 2011 - 4:01pm

Standing above her home perched on the north slope of Claremont Canyon along the Berkeley-Oakland border, Marilyn Goldhaber points across the valley. Most of the houses on the other side were damaged or razed in the massive 1991 wildfire that burned 1,520 acres and torched 3,500 homes and apartments. Two decades later, residents are still trying to figure out how to deal with the reality of wildfire while also respecting and potentially restoring native habitats. 

Syndicate content