Friday, March 11, 2011

YouChooseBayArea website launched

One of the projects that I've been working on over the past year, Envision Bay Area, has now produced a product, the YouChooseBayArea website, which allows users to play with different policy choices to produce a future scenario for growth in the region, and then see the results of these choices. It's all done up in an easy-to-use manner, with well-written text describing the implications of the choices and the collateral benefits (or damage) resulting. Metrics measured include fiscal impact, public health, GHG emissions, travel behavior, building energy and water consumption, and others.

The scenarios were run through the Rapid Fire model that I was instrumental in the process of building here at Calthorpe Associates. This model produced all of the quantitative results that you see on the website. This is the model that has also been used to produce the initial Results Report for the Vision California project.

Go check out the website. Let me know what you think!


Anonymous said...

Very Cool! A great way for citizens to interact, and voice their opinion on the future of their city!
Paul said...

Bravo for long-term planning and sustainable growth, but don’t let the ink dry on those buy-sell agreements just yet.

A few key points to consider:

- The groups behind this development effort say we have a choice, but they present the most important choice as a simple assertion: Bay Area population will grow by 2.2 million people by 2035. Our roads, downtowns, parks, transit resources will all be more crowded.

- According to their website, in 2010 SVCF granted roughly $75,000 each to 16 organizations that advocate for building more housing, and for groups that go to public meetings to advocate for more residential construction.

- According to California law S.B. 375, Bay Area cities are forced to join this transit-based development effort in order to qualify for billions in Federal and regional transportation funding.

- Transit-based development, as defined by S.B. 375, provides a loophole used by real estate developers to avoid compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

- We have 10 percent unemployment and a glut of vacant housing in the Bay Area. Building 900,000 more units and increasing the population by 33 percent will only increase job competition, strain resources and add congestion, while the few profit.

- And reducing our carbon emissions consistent with California law will be a pipe dream. Emissions will rise in direct proportion to our population increase. It’s that simple.