Interdependence the Changing Dynamic Between Cities and Suburbs

Should a resident of Napa care about community vitality in Oakland? Should an Oakland resident pay attention to the success of tourism in the Napa and Sonoma valleys? More broadly, what is nature of the relationship between cities and suburbs within metropolitan regions? Does the economic prosperity of the region ultimately depend on the economic and social health of older, central cities? These questions are at the heart of a new ABAG report entitled, "Interdependence: the Changing Dynamic between Cities and Suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Nationally, the relative position of cities vis á vis suburbs has changed dramatically over the last few decades by almost any relevant measure - and many cities and older suburbs are faring poorly, compared to newer suburbs. Central cities face a real dilemma: increasing demands for services, with a diminished ability to pay for them. Cities contain higher percentages of needy populations and their revenue streams are static or declining.

Moreover, remedial solutions are often counterproductive, since any attempt by a city to raise revenues can increase the motivation to relocate to nearby areas. This sets the stage for a worrisome downward spiral for cities and older suburbs.

Report Themes

The Report asks two main questions: what is the nature of the relationship between cities and suburbs, and can a compelling case be made that all jurisdictions have a stake in ensuring the economic and social health of the older, central cities? Bay Area cities and suburbs are compared and contrasted to national trends, and economic, social, cultural and environmental links across the region are explored.


Clearly, cities and suburbs no longer have the kind of dependent relationship they once had. However, they are also not independent of each other. Instead, the relationships are complex, multi-dimensional and multi-directional, hence the term "interdependent."

However, various data point to significant disparities, suggesting that cities and suburbs are on different economic trajectories.

What will be the likely impact of this growing urban-suburban disparity on overall regional vitality and prosperity? It appears that absent outside intervention, polarization will likely continue between relative affluence and homogeneity in the newer suburbs and relative concentrations of poverty and economic disparities in the cities and older suburbs.

The economic success of the region as a whole will depend on the vitality of the weakest links and will require both healthy cities and suburbs.

Challenges include: ensuring education, job training and worker readiness to meet the skill requirements of tomorrow's job market; strengthening important economic, cultural and social linkages across municipal boundaries and geographic areas; and greater economic, social and civic integration, especially for "at risk" populations.

Global Economy

"You can't be a suburb of nowhere." Jerry Abramson

Implications of global economic restructuring are also considered. In the new global economy, the region is key. In an industrial economy, competition was primarily domestic. But in an information and technology-based economy, competition is global and the region is the basic competitive economic unit. Successful regions will be efficient and invest wisely.

Research reveals that the most successful metropolitan areas are those where both cities and suburbs are healthy and vital. Suburban areas adjacent to healthy central cities have higher income, population, and employment growth than those surrounding stagnant central cities. Also, most evidence suggests that the complementary nature of city-suburb relationships will likely increase in the emerging global economy.

City/Suburban Population Growth Rates

Higher rates of central city growth are correlated with higher rates of suburban population growth. Similar patterns were found for employment and income. (Data are for 28 large Northeast and Midwest MSAs.)

Source: Voith, 1992.

Policy Implications

The report concludes with a discussion of policy implications and strategies crafted to address the issues raised. Existing examples of research and policy work to advance regional and urban economic development, and integrate the needs of both cities and suburbs are briefly presented. The report suggests, however, that much more can be done.

A plan of action has been outlined to strengthen the regional economy, with strategies ranging from education and job training, to targeted, localized urban and suburban economic development, to collaborative promotion of regional arts, culture and entertainment, to development of financial incentives to assist urban areas.

Potential roles for ABAG include direct leadership, support for efforts, and as a convener to bring parties together to develop consensus. The menu of policy options is currently being reviewed by ABAG General Assembly delegates (elected officials). Their feedback will guide priority-setting and future action.

The "Interdependence: The Changing Dynamic between Cities and Suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area" report is available for $15.00. Call 510/464-7900 to order your copy today!

For more information, please contact Janet McBride at 510/464-7955 or Claudia Albano at 510/464-7993, or e-mail to


PLAN Police Mobile Training Unit Obtains Certification

In late October, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified the ABAG PLAN Corporation Police Mobile Training Unit. The much-coveted certification means ABAG PLAN's Police Loss Prevention Program has met the rigorous law enforcement training requirements for police agencies around the state. The unique skills-based program offers instruction to police officers in emergency driving and firearms training. Both training modules generate "virtual reality" instruction using re-created arrest and emergency procedures.

In the driving simulator, each police officer drives various scenarios to test their skills and judgement. The police officer is surrounded by five television screens that react to every movement in "real time" to place the officer under nearly exact conditions they face while on patrol. Customized computer programming is also available so cities can reconstruct accidents and patrol scenes. Additionally, the system can create scenarios involving driving during various types of weather conditions including: rain, snow, fog, dusk and night driving.

The firearms training module provides officer's pistol range laser feedback while becoming involved in "virtual reality" arrest interactive situations. The system can record an officers reaction time and judgment.

In 1997, the ABAG PLAN Loss Prevention Committee will be exploring the possibility of sharing this vital police training tool with other member cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information about ABAG PLAN Corporation, contact Albert Fierro, Vice President, at 510/464-7969, or e-mail

San Francisco Bay Trail Announces Regional Development Program Winners

Approximately five miles of Bay Trail will be developed this year due to grants awarded to the winners of the 1996 San Francisco Bay Trail Regional Development Program. The projects include the Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline Trail in San Leandro ($75,000),theSunnyvale Baylands Trail in Sunnyvale ($69,700), and the Wildcat Creek Trail in San Pablo ($15,300).

The Bay Trail's Regional Development Program was funded with $200,000 from this year's state budget in partnership with the California Conservation Corps (CCC). The grant money, combined with local and private matching funds, will leverage over a million dollars to develop segments of San Francisco Bay Trail. The budget funds were acquired with the assistance of Senator Bill Lockyer, who was also the visionary of the Bay Trail and the author of its enabling legislation, Senate Bill 100, in 1987.

All three projects will use the CCC for trail construction and some maintenance. The Oyster Bay project, submitted by the East Bay Regional Park District, will complete the last mile of Bay Trail passing through Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline to Davis Street. By completing the paved trail and improving public access to the existing trail and park entrance, better access to the southern portion of the Bay Trail and to Oyster Bay Regional Park will be provided.

The Sunnyvale Bay Trail project proposes to open up 2.75 miles of Bay Trail levee trails, which also provides access to another 4 miles of levee trails. This is an innovative project that uses the CCC to develop the project and to maintain the trails for several years.

The Wildcat Creek Trail project (at Rumrill Boulevard to Davis Park) was submitted by the City of San Pablo and is an extension of the Wildcat Creek Trail (a Bay Trail connector trail). Once complete, this trail will also provide a connection to the Bay Area Ridge Trail. With the help of the CCC, the city will construct and landscape a paved class I (separated from vehicle traffic) trail from Rumrill Boulevard to Davis Park.

The projects were scored by a selection committee appointed by the Bay Trail Steering Committee. The Selection Committee included a Trail/Park Planner, a trail user, a project manager, and a member of the California Conservation Corps.

For more information, contact Karen Moonitz at 510/464-7915, send e-mail to, or visit our web site at



Automotive repair shops in Alameda County can now participate in the Bay Area Green Business program. The program kick-off took place November 12, in conjunction with an Automotive Services Council (ASC) meeting. Pamela Evans, the Green Business Coordinator for Alameda County, introduced this voluntary program to ASC members. The Green Business program recognizes automotive repair shops with excellent environmental practices. Businesses that meet the Green Business standards-- which cover regulatory compliance; pollution prevention; as well as energy, materials, and water conservation-- are publicly recognized and awarded a window sticker with the Green Business program logo.

The highlight of the kick-off featured Larry Moore of Larry's Auto Works in Mountain View, who participated as a pilot shop to test the Green Business standards. "Your customers want to patronize a clean business, and a Green Business is a clean business. By implementing the Green Business standards you can lower your costs and have a safer shop," Moore said.

Napa County Program Coordinator Jill Pahl is getting ready to kick-off the Green Business program to auto repair shops on January 16, 1997. Napa hopes to begin offering the program to wineries in March 1997. The goal of the Green Business program is to expand to more business sectors and have all nine Bay Area Counties participating by the year 2000.

For more information contact Jennifer Krebs, Project Manager, at 510/464-7980 or e-mail Visit ABAG's homepage,, for more information about the Green Business program.

Save the Date

Spring 1997 General Assembly:
Linking Land Use and Transportation in the Bay Area
Friday, April 18
Sheraton Palace
San Francisco

For more information on how to register call Kathi Carkhuff at 510/464-7960.

ABAG Tackles Welfare Reform

The November 22, 1996 General Assembly (G.A.) launched ABAG's focus on the welfare reform issue.

G.A. delegates heard from Eloise Anderson, the Director of the California Department of Social Services, who raised controversial questions-- particularly in relation to unwed mothers, the working poor and the "right" to receive government assistance. Anderson provided few answers and details, however, on the Wilson Administration's plan for implementing the law.

State Senate Consultant Sara McCarthy noted that welfare reform will be the major legislative issue in Sacramento for 1997, and hinted that implementation will likely be a multi-year process as many of the deadlines will not surface until after the 1997 legislative session.

A panel of local representatives shared their perspectives on the welfare reform issue: Santa Clara County Supervisor Jim Beall, Tangerine Brigham from the SF Dept. of Public Health, Alameda County Social Services Director Dr. Rodger Lum, and Richmond City Manager Floyd Johnson-- who voiced the concerns of cities who will likely hear from those persons no longer receiving public assistance or services.

More information related to welfare reform may be obtained via abagOnline, including analyses of the federal law, cost estimates, and county contacts around the Bay. We would like to post relevant documents from your jurisdiction-- please contact Michelle Fadelli at 510/464-7922 for more information.

Focus On: San Mateo County

Balanced Growth in San Mateo County

Positioned strategically between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, San Mateo County has just the right balance for success. Beyond its neighboring assets, the county itself embodies a comfortable blend of urban and natural environments, and prides itself in having the lowest unemployment rate in California, and the second highest per capita income.

San Mateo County's twenty year growth forecast estimates a population increase of nearly 60,000 residents. With almost 27,000 new households, the demand for housing will be significant and the vacancy rate is expected to be extremely low.

Close to 90,000 new jobs are forecast by the year 2015 within San Mateo County. The northern part of the county, in particular South San Francisco, Daly City, and San Mateo, will have the most job demand and is predicted to add approximately 31,500 new jobs through the year 2015. East Palo Alto will experience the greatest development pressures by the mid-2000's. As the last remaining section of the county with development potential,East Palo Alto's job growth is expected to skyrocket with 4,600 jobs in the next two decades.

The mean household income is forecast to jump from about $78,000 to almost $110,000 in 2015-- the second highest in the region.

T is for Tunnel

In San Mateo County, T is for Tunnel. Measure T, the initiative to construct a 4,000 foot long tunnel in lieu of a potential 4.5 mile by-pass in the coastal area of San Mateo County known as Devil's Slide, experienced a landslide of its own at the November elections. Poll tallies showed 75% voter approval.San Mateo County

Cost for the tunnel construction is estimated at approximately $100 million, close to the same amount projected for the overruled by-pass option.

Years ago, $52 million was made available for the by-pass through emergency federal funds. Now that the tunnel is a go, Congressman Tom Lantos plans to introduce legislation to reallocate those funds.

Even if Lantos is successful, another $50 million will be needed to complete the project.

In January 1995, additional money was designated when the State of California declared the site a federal disaster. At that time Caltrans asked for, but has not yet received an additional $35-40 million.

In December, many individuals, environmental organizations and business leaders met with local, state and federal representatives to discuss funding strategies for the tunnel.

Previous adversaries interested in the tunnel/bypass issue have joined together to find and secure the funding to get the tunnel built.

San Mateo County's BART Extension

The long-awaited BART extension to the San Francisco International Airport is nearing final approval. The last nod is expected from the House Transit Subcommittee by January 1997.

The BART extension should prove beneficial to San Mateo County by reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and adding another transit option to the SFO airport.

The $1.167 billion project budget is funded by the Federal Transit Administration ($750 million), San Francisco International Airport ($200 million), State of California ($108 million), San Mateo County Transit District ($99 million), and Metropolitan Transportation Commission ($10 million).

With final approval, construction of the 8.2 mile extension could begin in Spring 1997; the projected completion date is December 2000.

Sex Offender Crack Down

In response to local incidents related to violent sexual assaults, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department has established a Sexual Habitual Offender Program (SHOP) in order to reduce these violent crimes in the county. Funded by the County Board of Supervisors, the program is designed as a pro-active enforcement effort focused on predatory sex offenders.

SHOP's objectives include implementing a countywide database (which is online with the Violent Crime Information Network at the Department of Justice); liaison meetings for communications with interested agencies; monitoring sexual predators through record checks and random covert surveillance; integration of federal, state, and regional data to track sexual predators; and establishing state and regional contacts to enhance cooperative efforts.

San Mateo county adheres to the new state legislation, AB 1211, which requires that all prior sex offenders register within five working days of coming into any city/county in which they are residing, with the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction. Failure to register is now a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

For more info, contact Detective Sgt. Bill Cody at 415/363-4067.


Finding and Managing Public Dollars

January '97 Workshops

ABAG's Training Center will be hosting a series of workshops on "Finding and Managing Public Dollars" in January 1997 at the MetroCenter Auditorium, Oakland.

January 13 - Managing Public Investments
January 23 - 1997 Federal Funding Opportunities
January 30 - Revenue Risk Management

These workshops will give agencies effective tools such as grantwriting methodologies, proactive management investment risk perspectives and suggestions on developing a strategic plan to manage investments, and identifying and managing revenue risks to create more stability within government or an agency.

For registration information, contact Sharon Kendrick, ABAG Training Coordinator at 510/464-7964 or e-mail

Bay Area Economic Forum Appoints New President

The Bay Area Economic Forum (BAEF) has appointed Lawrence J. Baack as its new President. Mr. Baack's expertise in our regional economy will be an asset to the Forum.

In other Forum news, the recent BAEF publication "Leading the Transition to a Knowledge-Based Economy," which outlines the Bay Area's economic strengths and the challenges of maintaining our regional economic competitiveness, is available as an informative resource. For your convenience, copies of the report may be ordered via the BAEF website, or call 415/981-7117.

Post-Earthquake Housing Charrette January 31, February 1-2, 1997

Join other architects and planners for a 2 1/2 day hands-on workshop on designing post-earthquake temporary and replacement housing for close to 200,000 people in the East Bay.

The Charrette is co-sponsored by ABAG, the East Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the California Office of Emergency Services. Call Willie Pettis (AIA/East Bay) at 510/465-3856 for more information.


ABAG is pleased to welcome the Town of Moraga back as a full member, bringing full Association membership to 9 counties and 96 cities.

Bay Area Council 1997 Outlook Conference

Friday, January 10, 1997
8:40 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
The Westin St. Francis
Union Square
San Francisco
For Info: 415/981-6600



January 13. 8:30 a.m
"Managing Public Investments" Workshop
MetroCenter Auditorium

January 16. 5 p.m.
Finance & Personnel Committee
ABAG Room 102A, MetroCenter

January 16. 5 p.m.
Regional Legislative Issues Reception
CafeMetro, MetroCenter

January 16. 7:30 p.m.
MetroCenter Auditorium

January 23. 9 a.m.
"1997 Federal Funding Opportunities" Workshop
MetroCenter Auditorium

January 24. 9 a.m.
MetroCenter Auditorium

January 24. 9:30 a.m.
Regional Steering Committee for Homelessness & Housing. MetroCenter Conference Rm. 171

January 29. 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Short-Term Forecasting Conference
MetroCenter Auditorium
Earthquakes & Transportation Review Committee
ABAG Conference Room, MetroCenter

January 30. 8:30 a.m.
"Revenue Risk Management" Workshop
MetroCenter Auditorium

January 31-February 2.
"Post-Earthquake Housing Planning Charrette" Design Weekend. MetroCenter Auditorium
(January 31. 6 p.m. Community Meeting )


February 5. 1:30 p.m.
Regional Planning Committee
MetroCenter Auditorium

February 11. 3 p.m.
San Francisco Bay Trail Steering Committee
Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo

Regional Economic Outlook Conference: 1997 & 1998

The Return of Optimism?

Wednesday, January 29, 1997
9 a.m. to Noon (8:30 a.m. registration)
MetroCenter Auditorium - Oakland

1996 saw profound changes in employment and housing around the Bay. This trend is expected to continue in '97 and '98. Where are the jobs and what will they be? Where will people live, and can they afford it? What will happen to the cost of living in the Bay Area?

Ted Gibson - Chief Economist, CA Dept. of Finance
Bradley Inman - Syndicated Real Estate Columnist
Paul Fassinger - ABAG Research Director
Dan Stone - ABAG Regional Planner

$75 for members; $95 for non-members.
Registration deadline: January 22, 1997

For more information, contact Dan Stone at 510/464-7943 or e-mail

Service Matters is a publication of the Association of Bay Area Governments, the planning and services agency for the San Francisco Bay Area's 9 counties and 96 cities.

Councilwoman Charlotte Powers

Supervisor Mary King
Vice President

Supervisor Tom Torlakson
Immediate Past President

Eugene Y. Leong
Secretary/Treasurer and Executive Director

Michelle Fadelli, Editor

Jeannie Yee Balido, Associate Editor

Margo Yetemwork, Contributing Writer

Giovanni Luis, Graphics