Over the last few weeks, a vocal swath of San Diego has been quite polarized about large and small investors perhaps changing the nature of local communities thru the ongoing rental of homes principally in our coastal neighborhoods for profit. News reports have shown ‘for’ and ‘against’ waging this debate on the overall feel and makeup of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and elsewhere. This certainly is a debate worth having. [Read more…] about Pace of Sea Level Rising Quickly – Disaster Looms for Coastal San Diego
The large amount of precipitation California received this winter – enough to end the five year drought in many areas of the state – has been widely reported in the news media. Northern California even had its wettest year on record. Additionally, snow pack – tracked since 1941 at the 6,800 altitude Phillips Station near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada – has been well above average consistently since February through the date of this article. [Read more…] about The bad news inside the good news about the end of California’s drought.
Earlier this year the city unveiled an updated plan to combat climate change, the 2016 Climate Action Plan (CAP). It is an impressive, and ambitious document which advocates a future for the world’s finest city in which the health of citizens and the environment are prioritized. The CAP proudly proclaims efforts to “improve public health by removing harmful pollutants from our air” as one the plan’s top priorities. More specifically the CAP calls for San Diego to contribute to helping California reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2050, with a shorter-term emission reduction target of 15 percent of 2010 levels by 2020. Although San Diego has one of the most aggressive environmental urban plans in the nation, the city faces the daunting task of overcoming challenges posed by its biggest polluter, traffic. [Read more…] about A few ways to reduce carbon emissions from traffic congestion in San Diego without more roads or rails
Over 120 cities and counties in California have a climate action plan either completed or in the pipeline. As cities develop these plans and initiatives to address climate change, it is important to emphasize that social equity is integrated within environmental policies. The vulnerabilities, resilience and sustainability of the human ecosystem are as much determined by diversity and inter-dependence as its natural counterpart. As Pope Francis said in Laudato Sí, “a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” [Read more…] about Why climate change action cannot succeed without social equity
California’s Bay Area housing disaster tells Southern Californians that our housing crisis will only get worse and doing nothing is both an irrational and irresponsible response. We are faced with deciding to have more neighbors or pay more taxes as we desperately need money to fix our city’s crumbling infrastructure. The conundrum is that we despise taxes and the mere mention of ‘density’ polarizes any discussion into either demands for no new growth or building tall towers.
I believe answers to meet San Diego’s housing demand are found in the following two-tier approach: [Read more…] about Its not Smart Growth… It’s Called Avoiding a Housing Crisis
On June 2, 2015, San Diego’s independent TV station KUSI set aside a segment of their weather report to editorialize about climate change. The message: climate change is minimal and natural – not man made. The message was delivered by Mark Mathis, KUSI’s weather reporter who has an A.S. degree in meteorology. Mr. Mathis based his argument primarily on the two following assumptions: [Read more…] about How TV weather reporters are aiding and abetting climate change
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated. [Read more…] about 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.
The City of La Mesa has cut down all the shade trees along its commercial mainstreet. This occurred as construction began on the La Mesa Downtown Streetscape “enhancement” project. Some of these trees were tattered, unhealthy, or buckling the sidewalks. However, the city removed nearly all the trees, problematic or not. Rather than replacing these trees with environmentally and pedestrian friendly shade trees (e.g. native varieties like Western Sycamores, Live Oak, or Black Oak), the replacements tree choice is being guided primarily by maintenance concerns, leaving a limited selection of relatively small non-native and non-shade trees. Additionally, the Streetscape Masterplan shows an abundance of the grossly overused fan palm, sparing only La Mesa Boulevard between Acacia and 4th, and a few other blocks. [Read more…] about Who Hijacked La Mesa’s Trees?
For much of the last century, urban planning involved ever wider streets, both for major thoroughfares and for residential side streets. The justifications for this ever increasing road girth has ranged from emergency vehicle access to traffic flow. [Read more…] about One Simple Step to Suburban Street Slimming: Give it Away!