Public Press wins an Excellence in Journalism award for ‘Public Schools, Private Money,’ in the winter 2014 edition

 

smart growth

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

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 25 2012 - 11:38am

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.

Tea partiers and Occupiers make strange bedfellows opposing sprawl control

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 21 2012 - 12:22pm

So far, Plan Bay Area — an ambitious regional blueprint for dense urban communities convenient for walking and public transit — seems to have more strident critics than defenders. Some libertarians, liberal Democrats, environmentalists, professional urban planners and anti-capitalist Occupiers have all found issue with parts of the plan, and the way its authors have sought public opinion.

Cities resist regional plan to limit sprawl

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Jun 13 2012 - 1:44pm

A high-profile effort to focus new Bay Area housing into energy-efficient transit villages is seen as unworkable even as it makes its public debut this summer, say urban planners, because regional government lacks the authority to make cities build dense urban neighborhoods. The three-decade Plan Bay Area, unveiled in May, is the product of more than two years of research on the region’s demographics, economy, transportation and architecture. Proponents say “smart growth” could be the future of the Bay Area — if regional agencies had either the legal tools to enforce the grand vision or enough money to make it worthwhile for cities to participate.

Story in progress: Veteran smart growth group wary of rushing to judgment

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 27 2010 - 2:27pm

The other day we had a chance to chat over the phone with Jeremy Madsen, executive director of Greenbelt Alliance. This much-respected nonprofit has been advocating smart growth and open spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1958. In 2008 the outfit published Smart Infill, a 80-page report that recommends infill development — building on vacant lots and redeveloping blighted urban areas — as a way of accommodating the Bay Area’s growing population without paving the region’s farms and natural areas.

Story in progress: ‘Smart growth’ or bay fill in Redwood City? ABAG has the numbers

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 20 2010 - 12:50pm

The Bay Area needs more homes for its growing population, but does it make sense to house 30,000 people on unstable land, in earthquake country, that’s also at high risk of inundation by rising sea waters? A massive development proposal on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay, in one of the last potentially developable areas in the region, is raising questions about the definition of smart growth. [The Public Press is developing an in-depth report for the fall print edition and the website. We are raising funds on the journalism micro-funding site Spot.us to pay for the reporting and photography on the story.]

Is it ‘smart growth’ to build in the San Francisco Bay? Updates from the field

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 13 2010 - 4:45pm

The Bay Area needs more homes for its growing population, but does it make sense to house 30,000 people on unstable land, in earthquake country, that’s also at high risk of inundation by rising sea waters? A massive development proposal on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay, in one of the last potentially developable areas in the region, is raising questions about the definition of smart growth. [The Public Press is developing an in-depth report for the fall print edition and the website. We are raising funds on the journalism micro-funding site Spot.us to pay for the reporting and photography on the story.]

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