regional agencies involved in transportation planning, environmental
protection and local government coordination came together to discuss
how to nurture “smart growth” across the Bay Area’s nine counties
and 101 cities. As part of their work, this group sought to identify
and obtain the regulatory changes and incentives that would be needed
to implement a new growth vision in the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (now
known as the Bay Area
Alliance for Sustainable Communities) embarked on an ambitious
public participation exercise to reach consensus on, and generate
support for, a “regional livability footprint” – a preferred land-use
pattern to suggest how the Bay Area could grow in a smarter and
more sustainable way.
Although the two efforts represent diverse interests, they share
a common, urgent goal: to address the region’s mounting traffic
congestion, housing affordability crisis and shrinking open space.
In 2000, they merged their respective efforts. Thus was born the
Bay Area Smart Growth Strategy/Regional Livability Footprint Project.
The joint Project sought to engage locally elected
officials and their staffs, private developers, stakeholder group
representatives, and the public at large throughout the nine-county
Bay Area to:
- Create a smart growth land use vision for the Bay Area
to minimize sprawl, provide adequate and affordable housing, improve
mobility, protect environmental quality, and preserve open space.
- Identify and obtain the regulatory changes and incentives
needed to implement this vision.
- Develop 20-year land use and transportation projections
based on the vision and the likely impact of the new incentives
– projections that will in turn guide the infra-structure investments
of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and other regional
The Smart Growth Visioning Process
To achieve its bold goals, the Project embarked
on a campaign to engage decisionmakers and the public from the far
reaches of the region, to participate in two rounds of public workshops
in each Bay Area county.
Emergence of a Regionwide Smart Growth Vision
Following the workshops, the results were compiled to create a single
regionwide land-use vision. The Vision incorporates the choices
and decisions made by participants in the county workshops. It reflects
their selections of mixed-matched and changed alternative growth
scenarios appropriate for each county. The resulting portrait of
the Bay Area's future was unveiled as the Regionwide Smart Growth
Vision in the Smart Growth Strategy/Regional Livability Footprint
Project's Final Report.