Region: California

Are Front Lawns Unconstitutional?

In California, They Are

Textually, this is not difficult. Article X Section 2 of the California Constitution reads: The right to water or to the use or flow of water in or from any natural stream or water course in this State is and shall be limited to such water as shall be reasonably required for the beneficial use …

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How Much Rain is L.A. Capturing?

Local measures like Measure W are working. But more needs to be done to capture stormwater and rainwater.

At least nine atmospheric rivers blasted California between December 20th and January 15th, causing flooding and extensive damage, while also delivering much needed precipitation to our parched state. The Los Angeles County Public Works Department announced recently that more than 33 billion gallons of stormwater have been captured in the early months of the winter …

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…In Which I Attempt To Read My Water Bill

Failure To Install Smart Water Meters Is Wasting Billions of Gallons Each Year

I felt at least decently about myself when I paid my water bill recently, because I was told that my usage was somewhat better than other people in my neighborhood (which is a low bar, but you take what you can get). But when I tried to figure out why it was better, I got …

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What Would King Do?

California “YIGBY” Bill Could Empower Churches To Add Affordable Housing

As Martin Luther King day ends here on the west coast, the role of churches and religious institutions looms large. King’s activism arose out of his spiritual commitment. And in California, it looms large in a surprising way concerning the built environment. Land use is (in)famous for its acronyms: NIMBY, BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere …

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Parks and Housing Together: A Win for Communities and the Environment

A new Pritzker Environmental Policy Brief discusses the benefits of parks and affordable housing joint development

Los Angeles needs more parks and more affordable housing. When compared to other major cities across the country, the City of L.A. ranks 78th out of 100 in terms of park access, acreage, amenities, investments, and equitable distribution. More than 1.4 million people in the City of L.A. and nearly five million people in Los …

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Plutocracy Comes Home To Roost

Gavin Newsom Abandons His Climate Commitments To Favor His Billionaire Contributors

Well, well, well, what a surprise: not. Last year, when he single-handedly defeated Proposition 30 but falsely claiming it was a handout to Lyft, Gavin Newsom claimed it was unnecessary because of the state’s investments in clean energy. This was also false, since under its own estimates, the state would be nearly 1 million chargers …

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Advances in State Climate Policy

Despite the distractions of a national election, there were important developments around the country.

Last year, Congress took its first big step into climate policy by passing blockbuster spending measures. Nonetheless, many states are ahead of the Feds in climate policy. There were important developments in a multitude of states. California remained a hotspot for climate action. In terms of transportation emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved …

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LA’s big step toward building electrification

A photograph of Los Angeles, taken at night

Los Angeles is about to require that new buildings be electric, but there’s a bigger decarbonization hurdle waiting.

The City of Los Angeles is going into the new year with a big new building-decarbonization ordinance: starting this year, nearly all new buildings in the city will have to be entirely electric. This means that, with few exceptions, new buildings will need to exclusively use electric appliances, and will not be allowed to contain …

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Methane Action in 2022: Project Climate’s Year In Review

A short summary of efforts to tackle the super pollutant.

Co-authored with Gil Damon, CLEE Methane Research Fellow.  2022 proved to be a big year for methane—the flammable gas that accounts for 30 percent of Earth’s anthropogenic warming. Methane forms when organic material decomposes in sealed spaces and is released in the agriculture, waste disposal, and energy sectors. In terms of warming, methane is a …

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The Coming Ground War For Missing Middle Housing

Municipalities Continue to Maintain and Erect New Barriers To Homes For Working People

Last year, the California Legislature enacted SB 9, which required local governments to allow duplexes (and with ADUs, sometimes triplexes and quadraplexes) in single-family zones. Housing advocates rejoiced, and NIMBYs screamed that it was the end of the world and would lead to “Manhattanization” (because as we all know, Manhattan is famous for its duplexes). …

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