QUALITY GROWTH PLANNING NEEDED TO PROTECT
CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMIC PROSPERITY IN 21ST CENTURY
by Stephen Levy and Martha Davis
California’s economic prosperity and high quality of life will be threatened by the coming surge of growth unless land use decision making is greatly improved, according to a report released recently by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. The report, Land Use and the California Economy: Principles for Prosperity and Quality of Life, was commissioned by Californians and the Land, a project sponsored by several major California foundations concerned about the future of land use in the State.
“This report highlights California’s strengths — a strong economy and good quality of life,” stated Candace Skarlatos, Vice President of the Bank of America. “It makes a compelling business case for improving land use decision making in California so that the State will continue to attract world class businesses and workers as well as maintain a high quality of life for ourselves and for future generations,” Skarlatos said.
The Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE) forecasts that California will add 5.1 million jobs and 12.4 million people by the year 2020 and will need 4.3 million more housing units by that time.
“A high quality of life is increasingly important to California’s lead industries,” said Stephen Levy, CCSCE’s Director. The report finds that most business and community leaders agree on the core elements of a high quality of life for the State: a range of affordable housing, efficient transportation, clear air and water, good schools, vital and livable cities, and cultural and recreational amenities.
“Land use decisions affect nearly all aspects of the State’s quality of life,” Levy continued, “and the current system for making those choices will not work well for California’s 21st century economy.” The report concludes that the following principles for improving land use decision making in California are needed to meet the State’s goals for continued economic prosperity and high quality of life:
(1) Regional perspectives are required;
(2) Land must be used more efficiently;
(3) Public investment is required;
(4) Fiscal reform is essential; and,
(5) Equity considerations must be included.
Californians and the Land believes that the time is ripe for an examination of the connection between land use choices and the state’s economy,” said Martha Davis, CAL’s Executive Director. “Californians don’t want to choose between economic growth and quality of life, they want to find ways to achieve both.” “We hope that this report will help people who are concerned about California’s future to find a common ground in planning for that future,” Davis continued.
Californians and the Land (CAL) is sponsored by the Bank of America, the James Irvine Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Environment Now, a private operating foundation based in Los Angeles. CAL provides a forum for a wide variety of public and private organizations and individuals interested in land conservation and the sustainable use of land. As the California economy improves and development pressures increase, the sponsors and participants in Californians and the Land recognize the need to build a new consensus on land use policies.
The Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE) is an independent, private economic research organization specializing in the analysis and study of California. CCSCE focuses on long term economic and demographic trends in the State and its major economic regions. CCSCE works with private companies and public institutions that require an explanation and analysis of the growth process as well as detailed quantitative projections.
The report, Land Use and the California Economy: Principles for Prosperity and Quality of Life, can be obtained from Californians and the Land at 201 Mission Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 (415-777-0487).
Stephen Levy is Director, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy
Martha Davis is Director, Californians and the Land