San Francisco Bay Area, CA Smart Growth Strategy/Regional Livability Footprint Project

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San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: In Effect

Source File:


Smart Growth Preamble and Policies

The Smart Growth Preamble and Policies embody the objectives of the regionwide Vision developed at the public workshops. The policies served as the basis for the development of Projections 2003 and provide a framework for the pursuit of incentives and regulatory changes. An equally important role of the policies is their use as a tool to implement smart growth in the region, should local governments wish to use them in their planning efforts. The Preamble and Policies have been adopted by ABAG, BCDC, BAAQMD and MTC.

Current land-use patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area are putting intense pressure on the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the Bay Area and of surrounding regions. The projected addition of over one million new residents and one million new jobs in the coming decades will further challenge our ability to sustain the high quality of life we enjoy today.

To help meet this challenge, the five regional agencies of the Bay Region - the Association of Bay Area Governments, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Regional Water Quality Control Board - along with the economy, environment and social equity caucuses of the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities, developed a set of Smart Growth policies.

The policies reflect the values articulated by workshop participants of the Smart Growth Strategy/Regional Livability Footprint Project and address Bay Area conditions. The policies are consistent with widely accepted notions of smart growth. They are meant to encourage meaningful participation from local governments, stakeholders and residents.

The policies provide a framework for decision-making on development patterns, housing, transportation, environment, infrastructure, governmental fiscal health and social equity that can lead us toward development of vibrant neighborhoods, preservation of open space, clean air and water, and enhanced mobility choices, while enhancing the Bay Area's relationship with surrounding regions.


Jobs/Housing Balance and Match
Improve the jobs/housing linkages through the development of housing in proximity to jobs, and both in proximity to public transportation. Increase the supply of affordable housing and support efforts to match job income and housing affordability levels.

Housing and Displacement
Improve existing housing and develop sufficient new housing to provide for the housing needs of the Bay Area community. Support efforts to improve housing affordability and limit the displacement of existing residents and businesses.

Social Justice and Equity
Improve conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods, ensure environmental justice, and increase access to jobs, housing, and public services for all residents in the region.

Environmental, Natural Resource, Open Space and Agricultural Preservation
Protect and enhance open space, agricultural lands, other valued lands, watersheds and ecosystems throughout the region. Promote development patterns that protect and improve air quality. Protect and enhance the San Francisco Bay and Estuary.

Mobility, Livability and Transit Support
Enhance community livability by promoting in-fill, transit oriented and walkable communities, and compact development as appropriate. Develop multi-family housing, mixed-use development, and alternative transportation to improve opportunities for all members of the community.

Local and Regional Transportation Efficiencies
Promote opportunities for transit use and alternative modes of transportation including improved rail, bus, high occupancy (HOV) systems, and ferry services as well as enhanced walking and biking. Increase connectivity between and strengthen alternative modes of transportation, including improved rail, bus, ride share and ferry services as well as walking and biking. Promote investments that adequately maintain the existing transportation system and improve the efficiency of transportation infrastructure.

Infrastructure Investments
Improve and maintain existing infrastructure and support future investments that promote smart growth, including water and land recycling, brownfield clean-up and re-use, multi-use and school facilities, smart building codes, retention of historic character and resources, and educational improvements.

Local Government Fiscal Health
Improve the fiscal health of local government by promoting stable and secure revenue sources, reduced service provision costs through smart growth targeted infrastructure improvement, and state and regional sponsored fiscal incentives. Support cooperative efforts among local jurisdictions to address housing and commercial development, infrastructure costs, and provision of services.

Cooperation on Smart Growth Policies
Encourage local governments, stakeholders and other constituents in the Bay Area to cooperate in supporting actions consistent with the adopted Smart Growth policies. Forge cooperative relationships with governments and stakeholders in surrounding regions to support actions that will lead to inter-regional Smart Growth benefits.