Land Use (News)
Jobs paying less than $50,000 a year make up the majority of Silicon Valley’s projected employment growth, according to a 2012 report, and that means many more workers will commute long distances because they can’t afford to live in the valley.
In a housing market inflated by high-salary technology jobs, the median price of a single-family residence in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties remains at nearly $700,000.
The cost of renting is often out of reach as well. The report, released by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and Urban Habitat, shows that the average Silicon Valley bank teller, paramedic, waiter or retail employee falls well short of the annual salary needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment: $69,560 in Santa Clara County and $82,400 in San Mateo County.
As a result, 98,000 cars commute to and from the valley each day, and more than one-third of the workers driving them earn less than $40,000 annually, the report said.
Some commute from Stockton or Modesto (both almost two hours east of Silicon Valley), others from Hercules (more than an hour north). Even though housing is much cheaper there, these long-distance commuters pay in other ways: They spend a big chunk of their income on transportation and also lose time with their families.
Park Oakland loses a $1 billion a year to other cities, and without redevelopment, the city's plans for a major shopping district in Upper Broadway may be history.
Glenda Barnhart and her partner Clay Wagers dreamed of opening a bicycle shop. In 2008, as the economic meltdown started to spread nationwide, she feared that she would lose her income as a consultant and noticed that a bike shop was for sale around the Valdez Triangle. She took one look at bike shop and walked out. The area also known as Upper Broadway — failing auto dealerships, vacant storefronts, desolation — reinforced the thought it would be a horrible idea to buy that shop.
Six months later, Barnhart noticed the bike shop was still for sale. But this time she saw signs that the area was springing back to life. The nearby Whole Foods on 27th and Harrison streets had become a vibrant attraction for area shoppers. Condos were popping up close by, new restaurants were opening, and a nascent art community was blooming. It was time, she concluded, to buy that shop — Bay Area Bikes. "If we do this now," Barnhart recalled thinking, "we will be getting on the ground floor of something big. It was my dream to retire and do what I love."
OAKLAND, Calif. - A new chapter opened Feb. 7 in the long saga of efforts to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base, as the City Council approved guiding principles to assure Oakland residents priority for construction jobs and for the warehouse and goods movement jobs that are to follow.
The base is especially important to the city's economic life because it is next to the Port of Oakland, the nation's fifth busiest port, in a working-class area where unemployment is high.
Agreement on the provisions came after years of discussion, and a nine-month process that brought together labor, community members, environmentalists and the business community, with Councilmember Jane Brunner playing a major role. Participating in the discussions was the 30-organization Revive Oakland! coalition of clergy, workers, youth, and neighbors from West and East Oakland.
Besides construction jobs, the project is expected to create some 2,500 to 3,000 permanent jobs.
This film series explores how sprawl replaced traditional neighborhoods and what can be done to bring back community and sustainability to our cities and towns. The Films start at 7 PM, Laurel Room, Sunnyvale Community Center, 550 East Remington. Doors open at 6:45. FREE.
May 6: Save Our Land, Save Our Towns (1 hr)
Small town newsman Tom Hylton explores why America's towns have declined and what we can do to revive them. Philadelphia Daily News praises, “Development and zoning issues normally make the eyes glaze...Tom Hylton makes them downright fascinating."
May 13: Creating Places We Want to Live
Portland: A Sense of Place (Design e2 Episode) (30 minutes) 2008
Thanks to a progressive public transportation portfolio that includes train, streetcar, bus and aerial tram, Portland has become one of the most livable cities in the US.
Community by Design (26 minutes) 1997
Learn about the key role that design plays in building community from some leading progressive thinkers on the subject.
By Gen Fujioka
The following article originally appeared in The Planner's Network and is reposted here with permission from the author, Gen Fujioka (Senior Policy Advocate at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development).
Transit-oriented development (TOD) has become a leading policy prescription for reversing America’s sprawling path of growth. The Obama administration, through its Sustainable Communities Initiative, state and local agencies and progressive think-tanks all emphasize TOD as a means to achieve housing, transportation and environmental goals, often through public-private partnerships. But as TOD has been justifiably promoted as the cleaner alternative to auto-dependent development, gaps have appeared in the discourse that understate its costs. This report seeks to fill in some of those gaps with snapshots from four communities of color that have been impacted by various stages of TOD in the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Minneapolis–Saint Paul.
PLEASANTON -- Pleasanton officials want residents to help plan for nearly 2,000 new homes in town, with 80 percent or more for either low- or very low income households.
As part of a court settlement with Urban Habitat -- an organization that won a suit challenging the city's voter-approved housing cap limiting the number of homes here to 29,000 -- the city agreed to provide a housing plan update to the state by August. The update includes plans to accommodate 1,992 new units, of which 1,661 must be income-restricted.
In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, low-income housing is designated for families with a maximum annual income of a $72,240 for a family of four; families making up to $45,150 qualify as very low income.
If the city fails to meet is Aug. 16 deadline, it could face additional sanctions from the court, including loss of its power to issue building permits and to zone property.
The city established a housing element update task force in October. Over the past four months, it has developed a citywide list of 17 potential sites, with a combined 108 acres of land that could accommodate at least 30 housing units per acre. The city estimates it would have to rezone 70 acres to meet its requirement.
East Palo Alto is moving forward with a long-term strategic planning process that officials hope will bring new money and new life into the city. But it’s not just bureaucrats who are doing the heavy lifting.
Annie Loya, an outspoken 26-year-old native of East Palo Alto, was instrumental in drawing the land-use map that will anchor a specific plan for the city. In a two-year process that paralleled the city’s own, she solicited community input on the map and ultimately advocated for a version that would provide jobs appropriate to community residents; zone for open, civic and mixed-use space; and lay the groundwork for the creation of a new downtown.
Loya, as head of the group Youth United for Community Action, has stepped up in recent years to pester officials on some of the touchiest issues the city faces. She doesn’t shy away from terms like “environmental racism”; nor does she worry about acting the part of the “lobbyist,” which — though it’s not how she’d describe herself — essentially summarizes her job description.
“Happy New Year, everyone!” Loya crooned recently, in a high, sing-songy pitch, hoop earrings swaying as she approached a podium to face East Palo Alto’s planning commissioners. She wore high heels and black stretch pants. “Um, so as you guys know, um, I’m part of a collaboration called Envision, Transform and Build East Palo Alto…”