Land Use

In Defense of Live Carbon

Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge

When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below).  These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs.  Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts […]

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Parking versus Housing at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley faces same dilemma as much of rest of California in addressing the housing crisis

UC Berkeley is not immune to California’s housing crisis. Indeed, as the student newspaper noted, the campus “has housing for 22 percent of undergrads and 9 percent of graduate students – vastly lower than the UC average of 38.1 percent for undergraduates and 19.6 percent for graduate students.” Moreover, soaring housing costs have made it […]

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Getting Lost In The Woods?

New Study From India Points to Dangers From Forestry Sector Emissions Trading

Despite the Trump Administration’s dedication to melting the planet, the rest of the world is gamely pushing ahead with implementing the Paris Accord, and that means programs like United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The two are linked, because […]

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HUGE

New Addition to California’s Infill Housing Bill Could Transform the State’s Land Use

If there is one journalistic phrase I despise, it is “game-changer.” Everything seems to be a game-changer, no matter how small. But amendments just approved by the California State Senate for SB 50, Scott Wiener’s controversial bill upzoning lots near transit could be, well, a game-changer: On Wednesday, a key committee signed off on Senate […]

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Why Is Los Angeles Embracing Stupid Growth?

Council Wants Hotels, But No Housing

Yesterday, I expressed wonder that the City of Los Angeles actually did planning right for a change. Obviously, I jinxed it. Reducing VMT, and thus carbon emissions, requires cities to plan and zone for affordable housing (whether defined as deed-restricted or simply at a reasonable market rate). But despite city leaders’ claims of an affordable […]

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Grandma Saves The City!

New Data Shows Hope For Affordable Housing In the Most Unlikely Place: Los Angeles

It’s not often that you get some good planning news from Los Angeles, but at least if you believe the City’s numbers, there are some. The Planning Department’s latest housing numbers, from its year-end 2018 Quarterly Report, state that in light of SB 1069 (Wieckowski), which substantially liberalized the construction of Accessory Dwellling Units (ADUs), […]

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Can Voter Registration Combat NIMBYism?

Homeless Voting Can Change the Urban Political Calculus

NIMBY land use politics stems from a classic political process failure: the people who would benefit from more housing do not yet live in the jurisdiction where it will be built — and for the most part, do not even know that they will be the ones who will live there. Thus, local officeholders have […]

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Even Worse Than Duke

San Francisco Takes NIMBYism to a New Level

A few years ago, an episode of South Park saw Cartman attempting to rescue Kyle in San Francisco from a SMUG  alert. It was, as it is so often, ahead of its time: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously rejected a 63-unit apartment complex, including 15 below-market-rate units, because it would cast […]

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Goodbye, Cleveland!

Newspaper Collapse Threatens The Environment: Universities Need To Fill The Gap

In 1970, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River famously caught fire. This past week, we have seen an even worse environmental disaster for the city: The Plain Dealer on Monday laid off 14 newsroom employees as part of a staff reduction first announced in December. The 14, most of them reporters and all members of Local 1 of […]

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California Adopts New, Welcome Wetlands Protection Rules

State Fills Void Left By Trump Administration’s Weakening of Federal Wetlands Standards

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources.  Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary.  Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal […]

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