Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded — planners want to make it more equitable, too

By John King, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2020

Plan Bay Area 2050 anticipates less growth in San Francisco and Oakland than had been forecast in the past — though both would continue to develop — and more in San Jose and nearby parts of Santa Clara County. It also warns that even with governmental and investment strategies to try and preserve a diverse population, lower-income residents will still be under pressure from housing and transportation costs.

“The blend of forecasts and policy goals were released this month by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments. And while the findings were revisited this spring as the coronavirus upended daily life, officials involved in the effort say the pandemic’s long-term impact is likely to be relatively minor.

“Plan Bay Area 2050 — which still must go through public review and receive final approval — is the latest in a series of regional plans dating to 1970. But this one could have more impact than most: Funds related to needs such as bay restoration and transportation upgrades increasingly are allocated on a regional basis.

“Overall, the plan anticipates that the region’s population will grow from roughly 7.9 million in 2020 to 10.3 million by 2050. The number of jobs within the nine counties would climb from 4.1 million to 5.4 million.

“It also emphasizes 25 ‘bold strategies’ for making the region ‘affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.’ Many are aspirational, with price tags but no current source of funds — such as an annual $1.5 billion pool to help the region build and preserve affordable housing. Another goal, to provide child care subsidies to low-income workers across the region, would cost an estimated $30 billion over time.

“‘We need to prioritize equity in setting the region’s direction,’ said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. ‘It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s critical to add housing to areas that already have seen an explosion in jobs.’”

Read the full article here.

Public comment on Plan Bay Area 2050 is open until August 10, 2020.