Green Living

Are Pandemics An Argument Against Cities?

COVID-19 spread shows governance matters more than density

With the COVID-19 virus shutting down cities and countries all over the world, anti-urban advocates are seizing the moment to argue that pandemics prove urban density is bad. For example, longtime sprawl booster Joel Kotkin argues that shelter-in-place orders and fear of contagion will push people to demand more lower-density homes, far from crowded and …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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The Real Lesson From Madrid’s Failed Climate Conference? Spain’s Success On Urban Quality of Life & Carbon Emissions

Southern European nation excels at walkability, reduced emissions & resident happiness

The UN climate conference in Madrid last month may have ended poorly, but conference attendees had a big success story right in front of them in the host country. Spain’s success achieving efficient – and enjoyable – land use and transportation outcomes is a model other countries and states should emulate to address climate change. …

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“But What Can Someone Like Me Do About Climate Change?”

Yes, there ARE things you can do. Individual efforts add up.

One reason people avoid thinking about climate change, or try to pretend it’s not happening, is that they feel powerless to address the problem.  It’s true that anything we can individually do is minuscule compared with the scope of the problem.  But individual efforts really do add up.  People usually think first about how to …

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Where’s the Beef?

Mississippi’s “Veggie Burgers” Ban is Almost Certainly Unconstitutional

Mississippi recently passed a law that has the effect of banning terms like “veggie burger.”  It’s easy to imagine other states passing similar laws. From an environmental view, that’s problematic, because beef in particular is connected with much higher greenhouse gas emissions than plant products.  It’s not just the methane from cow-burps, it’s also all …

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New Report: Increasing Energy Efficiency at Low-Income Multifamily Properties

Join Berkeley/UCLA Law expert webinar Thursday at 10am to discuss top findings

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What I Wish The Green New Deal Hadn’t Left Out

Greening our infrastructure is part of the solution, but so’s city planning.

While there’s certainly been no shortage of criticism of last week’s Green New Deal resolution, the common line hasn’t been that the resolution doesn’t try to cover enough ground.  On the contrary, it’s been called an everything-but-the-carbon-sink approach; even Trevor Noah devoted a few minutes of the Daily Show to gaping at the proposal’s efforts …

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LA’s Trying to Build Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing

But could we make it easier?

My colleague Jonathan Zasloff rightly points out that one way to harness the benefits of upzoning to alleviate our housing crisis is to promote inclusionary requirements for transit-oriented development.  Los Angeles has adopted just such a program through its Transit-Oriented Communities ordinance, which I’ve written about here. Per the City of Los Angeles’ initial assessment, …

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Auctioning the Upzone: A New Strategy for Inducing Local-Government Compliance with State Housing Policies

New White Paper by U.C. Davis Law Professors Recommends Market-Based Tool to Incentivize Intensified Urban Development in California and Beyond

(Note: the following post was co-authored by U.C. Davis School of Law Professors Chris Elmendorf and Darien Shanske; the white paper discussed in the post is their work product.)  California’s housing policies–a topic that for years received precious little attention from state officials–has suddenly become the Golden State’s hottest political and policy issue.  The California Legislature passed …

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Recommendations For Governor-Elect Newsom To Address Wildfire, Water, & Climate and Transportation Threats

New CLEE and Resources Legacy Fund report based on three expert convenings

Climate change exacerbates the droughts, floods, and wildfires that Californians now regularly experience, making them even more extreme and unpredictable. Gavin Newsom, California’s next governor, faces the urgent challenge of simultaneously preparing for inevitable disaster, improving the quality of life for residents, and minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions of a society of nearly 40 million …

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