Urban Habitat Opposes Proposition 1B and Supports Prop 1C
Urban Habitat’s analysis finds that Proposition 1B (transportation) will put California on a path to more sprawl, increased pollution, and less opportunities for our state’s low-income communities of color while Proposition 1C (housing) provides our state with smart opportunities for economic prosperity and growth, promotes better communities and strengthens equity for all citizens. View Full Report (PDF, 137k)
In the past, the environmental community has sometimes been criticized for not paying enough attention to the problems of the underprivileged,” says Kaid Benfield, senior attorney and director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smart Growth Initiative. At the same time, “the housing community has been criticized for ignoring the environmental impacts of its projects.” But now, Benfield and others see an opportunity to address both concerns at once—with green affordable housing.
Megan Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston University Medical Center who studies the connections between housing and health, believes the goals are inseparable. “We have to work harder at not viewing housing as a one-dimensional issue… as only green, or healthy, or affordable. We must look at green affordable housing as something possible and necessary.”
After all, the goals of green building and affordable housing overlap to a large degree, making the latter well suited to green strategies
"Will you sign our petition calling on the Mayor to “re-energize our communities with Green?” asks Oreatha Ensley, as she walks door to door in the South Los Angeles neighborhood where she has lived for over 38 years.
In municipalities across the country, an unusual phenomenon is gaining momentum. It is the merger of two ideas traditionally believed to be opposites of each other—economic development and environmental protection—to create strategies for “green economic development,” or “sustainable development.” The creation of a “sustainable economy” is an attempt to find effective solutions to our country’s dependency on fossil fuels, while simultaneously boosting local economies through job creation. Now investors and policy-makers everywhere are pleasantly surprised to discover that green economic development promotes both, environmental protection and production performance.
In 1999, our small part of New York city handled 40 percent of the entire city’s commercial waste, a sewage treatment plant, a sewage sludge pelletizing plant, four power plants, the world’s largest food distribution center, and other industries which bring in more than 55,000 diesel trucks to the area each week. Four power plants and another 5,000 diesel truck trips were on the way.
Not surprisingly, the area also has one of the lowest ratios of parks to people in the city. So, when I was contacted by the parks department about a $10,000 seed grant to develop waterfront projects, I thought they were well meaning but a bit naïve. I had lived in this area all my life and knew that you could not get to the river because of all the facilities there.
Ben Jesse Clarke: New Orleans stands as an all-too-powerful example of what the future may hold if we fail to advance progressive alternatives to the ongoing planned disaster of current models of economic development. In looking at global economic situations, it is clear that we need to promote green economic development as a significant part of the solution, both for climate change and rebuilding, in the wake of disasters. But how can this solution be integrated with historic equity challenges faced by low-income people in communities of color in the distribution of public and private resources?
In February, the Social Equity Caucus (SEC) surveyed its Oakland-based members to name the major issues and challenges the next mayor should address. The 25 social service agencies, community-based and advocacy groups responding to the survey identified priority issues as equitable economic development benefiting current residents in
The top 5 issues specified by caucus members in order of importance were:
Oakland Solutions Salon: A Model City is Possible
Thursday May 18, 2006 6pm-9pm
Hear about current innovations from community leaders and social entrepreneurs in the fields of environmental and economic sustainability. presenters will discuss groundbreaking projects in urban gardening, local economies, alternative building, & More. Find out what is working in other cities & how Oakland can be a model city.
Richmond Regional Equity Demonstration Project
Juliet Ellis and Elizabeth Tan
Photo (c) 2006 Chandra Egan