Darin Dinsmore
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BACKGROUND

Introduction

The State of California has passed groundbreaking new laws (AB 32 and SB 375) that link transportation and land use planning with global warming.  Communities and regions are now required to assess and address the impacts of their development patterns and transportation plans, through the creation of sustainable community strategies, a new element of regional transportation plans (RTPs).
Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) was formed in 2009 in anticipation of these new laws and in response to our clients’ needs. The SCS team provides professional services and solutions in crafting comprehensive sustainable visions and community strategies that will meet and exceed the requirements of this new legislation.  We will help you create vibrant and sustainable communities by increasing livability and prosperity, reducing the carbon footprint of residents and visitors, and improving quality of life. 

A Brief History

Sustainable community strategies were first piloted in the UK in 2000, as a way to “improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of an area, and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.” They take on a comprehensive array of issues affecting communities and recognize the interrelatedness of all aspects of our quality of life. A fundamental part of the planning process is the formation of local strategic partnerships that integrate and streamline public services, supported by consistent public engagement. 

In 2006, California legislature passed AB 32, “The Global Warming Solutions Act,” which established statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Two years later, the legislature adopted SB 375 as a pathway to reach these goals. The bill requires regional transportation plans (RTPs) to include a sustainable community strategy designed to achieve the targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction.  The SCS will include: 1. A land use component that identifies how the region could house its entire population over the next eight years and next twenty years; 2. A discussion of resource and farmland areas to be protected; 3. A transportation network; 4. A demonstration of how the development pattern and the transportation network can be integrated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

With this legislation, we at Sustainable Community Strategies believe there is an opportunity to begin planning more holistically, for long-term community improvements and environmental preservation.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Groundbreaking new laws in California (AB 32 and SB 375) now require regions to comprehensively address climate change and implement solutions. Let our sustainability services team help bring new tools that will assist you in creating a sustainable community strategy.

We work with California’s local, regional, and state decision-makers to understand best practices and support innovation in sustainability and climate action. We work with our clients to develop and implement plans that will help achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and create more livable communities.  We work with leading environmental, civic and transportation organizations, redevelopment agencies and developers to help communities implement smarter land use and transportation projects to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.  On behalf of our clients, we craft policies and help shape public/private investment to create compact and walkable communities and improve quality of life in our cities and towns.

 

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