Overarching Sustainability Challenges & Solutions


After reviewing so many development projects in the Bay Area and addressing main sustainability challenges across all of them. Write, (in no more than 400 words), your overall assessment of the main issues or challenges that are common across these projects. Think of the overarching themes not specific details. What is actually not working and how to make it better?
Be precise and do not exceed the word count.

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)


30 thoughts on “Overarching Sustainability Challenges & Solutions

  1. Nicholas B. Evans
    USP 514

    As I watched the projects, many of which were well thought out and had well oriented information that explained the different ways the project became sustainable. I personally believe that the problems in the Bay Area regarding sustainability are that many projects are separate and are on different time lines, it’s this lack of cohesion that change the dynamics and create planning problems for other projects. I also think there is a lack of commitment from city offices and from the public to sustainability. When a city plans for a parking lot, the planners, the city and the public all are giving up on the ideals of sustainability. Instead they should be oriented planning involved in projects [like] (reducing vehicles on the physical road) and implementing these strategies and plans city/county/state wide.


  2. Jose Flores
    USP 514

    All the presentations in USP 514 were very informative. Students discussed the positive outcome it will have for that area and the issues it might face. It seems like the main themes were transportation, and new development. Some of the transportation systems were biking, MUNI, and BART. There are new development projects being proposed and being built. Some of the projects include parks, commercial businesses, and condos.
    Some of the issues that are common across these projects are the location and how it is affecting the area. The location of where these transportation systems are being placed is displacing people from the area because of higher rents. On the other hand it is helping a certain class of people. New development is also displacing people from the area. It sounds good from the development standpoint but in reality it is unrealistic and it causes negative effects. One thing that is not working is that “affordable housing” is not really affordable. One way to make it better is to collect data of the income levels in the area and set the price accordingly. The Planning Department and city should do a better job in creating sustainable projects that will benefit the community not separate them.


  3. The main issues I saw in the dozens of projects I learned about came down to bureaucracy, lack of public input, and limits on time and money. The way in which these projects were operating within the framework of local government created challenges because changes could not be make without a lot of effort. The lack of public input was a fatal flaw for a lot of projects because they failed in the social sustainability aspect. These developments often were invasive to the community they were building in and made locals agitated when they should have been a part of the planning process and able to benefit from the development most. Additionally I noticed that the limitations on time and money meant that major cutbacks had to be made in a project or it downgraded the original vision and potential. Obviously funding is challenging to secure, but often projects took much more money to complete than projected and there wasn’t any surplus to cover it. This means that there was a deficit or the project was downgraded.

    What could have been done better is the part of the process that happens before the groundbreaking. I think the flaws came in the initial planning that didn’t consider what to do when challenges occurred. Public input should be a part of the project to even before the project gets approval to start, because the issue could be much bigger than expected. Local politicians also need to do a better job of assessing if this project is going to actually benefit their constituents instead of play into the pockets of a major developer. There were several housing developments that were said to provide relief to our housing crisis yet offered very few options for low income people.


  4. Everyone had great and really informative presentations. While all related to sustainability, the presentations covered a broad array of topics, each with its own nuances. In listening to each presentation, one of the most common themes regarding the struggle to make these projects happen was the bureaucracy and endless mess of red tape. With each project, there are zoning laws to abide by, codes to follow, and requirements to meet. These things can deter people from wanting to finish projects, and sometimes they can ultimately make it too expensive for people to finish said projects. This can be especially true for project that hold themselves to high environmental standards, as there those standards require a lot of extra time and money to meet. I believe that if the pathway to completion of projects was streamlined, or made more comprehensive, people could start and finish environmentally friendly projects quicker and at less of a cost. There are plenty of other issues that projects face, especially in the Bay Area. Some of my classmates acknowledged that the lack of cohesion in the Bay Area governments can make it hard to complete projects in a timely manner. Ultimately I believe the process from planning to completion needs an update. Great job everyone!


  5. The majority of these development projects in the bay area all seemed to have common themes when it comes to challenges or issues faced in the bay area. I personally believe a large issue with the majority of the projects is that there is little public knowledge about the issues that were discussed in people’s sustainability projects. The less citizens know about city projects, the more animosity and public outrage there will be when a problem with the project arises. On the other hand, like Urban farming and open publicly owned space projects, people don’t have the knowledge of the benefits these projects have because they aren’t generally known about in the city. Another issue I have noticed that seems to be a reoccurring theme is the time frames in which these projects have. The majority of the BART projects take ten plus years to design, years to approve, and then years to finish the project. The speed at which projects for the citizens of the bay area move extremely slowly compared to private development projects that are happening at the same time. I believe there needs to be more public knowledge about the projects that are happening in the bay area. There needs to be a source at which the general public can easily go to see the proposed projects in the bay area and write comments about how they think it will affect their community. I think what developers lack is a sense of neighborhood in the bay area. Developers start projects without doing their homework on the area effected. There needs to be more of a relationship between the public and development projects. Altogether I think everyone did a great job on their projects and it was very insightful.


  6. Many of the projects presented were related to a block of high density neighborhood project or a project related to BART. Many of the projects presented can be considered socially contentious and go through many layers of approval or needing Draft Environmental Impact Review to comply with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

    Every high density project from 5M to Telegraph Ave presented issues of affordable housing, displacement, and being more considerate of the natural land forms and watersheds. Even though there needs to be parking maximums, the presenters presented concerns of traffic that the projects may generate. Even though where the displaced end up is a mystery, the presenters answered Richmond CA is where the displaced are moving for cheaper rents.

    The BART projects presented a variety of service extension to San Jose and to Oakland Airport. The San Jose extension’s purpose seemed to reduce traffic or have an option to avoid driving in the South Bay. The presenters even implied that BART service is for the economically privileged, especially when the Airport service is charging 6 USD and not having any station stops in between. The future Oakland BART Connector needs a station near the former Wal Mart and hotels and needs to be extended east to Eastmont Transit Center or Foot Hill Square. Rail projects are so contentious to the point that advocates try to encourage a Bus Rapid Transit Alternative, but have the bus advocates realize the pollution form the tail pipe?

    These projects definitely need to provide Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) or just Public Space. Providing the POPS can be an incentive to allow developers to build more square feet. Future public spaces need to be more noticeable and follow Kevin Lynch’ Image of the City idea of making places more identifiable and be part of the social urban fabric, which be done by an ornate sign telling the public what it is.


  7. Akram Yasin Abdulrahman
    USP 514
    21 October 2016

    Mid Term Projects : Summary
    Among the assessed sustainable projects that were analyzed, I found that the main lacking components were both the financial and environmental elements of sustainability. Majority of the witnessed projects seemed to take up a lot of resources and emit an excess amount of unhealthy substances and were not successful into bringing healthy revenue back to society. Specifically speaking, we were able to see that although many of the ideas involved a lot of initiatives for green alternatives for energy consumption, in the long term carbon footprints and overall energy consumption increased due to massive and complicated expansions and investments.

    For instance, when expanding and reurbanizing certain areas we witnessed a lot of sustainability issues in the sense that more energy and resources were actually wasted, made the neighborhoods actually more expensive, and was not completely successful in catering to all socioeconomic backgrounds which meant that they failed through a social lens as well. Because of the massive implications and the focus on arbitrary and somewhat unrealistic goals, it became evident that to tackle the aspects of environmental and economical sustainability first and foremost was inevitable to fail.

    From my point of view, instead of targeting huge investments and massive expansions with large objectives I’d rather focus on a micro-scale level in order to approach the factors of sustainability in a much more accessible way. Instead of for example ‘’targeting’’ to build affordable housing, focus on affordable services which is an attraction to all sectors of society. Instead of putting a huge amount of emphasis on direct alternatives to better the conditions for the environment that results in an increase in emissions, I would try to tackle the source of the emissions by putting efforts to build sustainable pathways for the public, in the form of bike & bus routes, public parks, and daily life accommodations. I would try to make sure that elements are managed on a micro-level initially in order make the communities and the projects more sustainable as mentioned before.


  8. The presentations on sustainability factors of Bay Area development projects seemed to have many similarities. The projects ranged from comprehensive plans to rather simple goals. The common attributes that I noticed in all of these projects were lack of sustainability, funds and environmental friendly aspects. In most of the projects it was the lack of implantation of these attributes that was being highlighted. I think that the lacking of progress in most of these projects has to do with finical aspects and the lack of representation in a political matter. The bigger scale projects deal with finical and political issues because of the amount of money that goes into them. In my opinion this is why all of the proposed projects need refurbishment in the first place. With the lack of funds projects are rushed to completion and don’t meet sustainability goals. There is little to be done with all of these projects if there is a lack of funding. In order to combat this, we need to highlight and expose the need to rebuild these project sites. Through the education on how current structures facilitate socioeconomic issues and aren’t environmentally friendly, the public will come to the realization for the need to change. A way for this to be accomplished is through public outreach and involvement. With communities being aware and active on development projects in their neighborhood they can make a difference on what happens.


  9. Based on the presentations, the development projects, all have major impacts on the San Francisco’s overall transportation and quality of life. There were numbers of development on transportation, housing developments, and increasing quality of life through park developments and restoring lands.
    Based on these development, there was recurring themes of not considering the effects and how the developments can alter the normal lives of the people in the areas. For example, with the transportation developments, they do not take into consideration already existing lines and cooperate with each other to ensure that pricing and travel are going to be as catering to the riders but also the people around the neighborhoods the new projects are being placed. There was also lack of communication within the affected communities and developers.

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  10. Regardless of the intended outcome, almost all of the development projects presented promoted gentrification and/or catered to more affluent people. Most of the housing developments had minimal low-income housing (ParkMerceds redevelopment being as low as 5%), with a majority of them being “market-rate” luxury units. The public transit developments inevitably increase gentrification in their surrounding communities, and transit agencies often cater to the wealthier elite. In general, these projects were not equitable, and examples of green capitalism rather than true sustainability.
    Looking at these projects made me wonder how “green” development can be equitable without gentrification being an inevitable result. Lower-income communities often bear the brunt of environmental injustice, but they should be able to live in healthy communities without fear of displacement. While most of these projects lacked sufficient lower and moderate income housing units, such is the main proposed solution to fighting gentrification. It seems as though the Bay has disproportionately large amounts of luxury housing available compared to how much affordable housing it actually needs. Likewise, areas with better access to public transit are often more expensive than areas lacking sufficient transit, but areas lacking transit need better transit without risking gentrification. Many opponents to gentrification argue that an increased number of affordable housing units will help stabilize communities, and while this may be true for some time, cities (especially San Francisco) only have a finite amount of space to build upon for this.
    I’m not arguing that a large percentage of affordable housing wouldn’t help mitigate gentrification, or that public transit is bad because it is a force behind gentrification, but that even if a city makes all of its housing affordable and accessible for its residents through various legislation and (re)development, the problem of infinite growth with limited space and resources still remains. In this way, sustainable development can be seen almost as an oxymoron because it often promotes growth in one way or another – which is generally the opposite of what humanity should be doing right now. While curbing population growth is beyond most urban planners grasp, striving to legally ensure affordable housing for all can help fight gentrification and still allow room for healthy redevelopment. Development of public transit can be inequitable and aide to gentrification, but as long as it is done with community desires in mind, and sufficient affordable housing surrounds the area, then it should be advocated for.


  11. After all the presentations that everyone did in class for the last 2 weeks, I found them really informative. I did because they mentioned how so many people are trying to make the environment better by providing more sustainability activities that will help a lot in the future. I think the most of the projects talk about positive and negative solutions about the sustainability projects. The projects that everyone mentioned have a lot to do with environmental impacts that the projects can cause. It can be good or bad or both. All the projects that the class presented cost a lot of money and takes really long for the projects to happen in the Bay Area. Other than that the projects mentioned a lot about environmental impacts, urban impacts, and social impacts. They were all really sustainable for the environment.
    What I think should be better is that the projects should have mentioned high or low income places and how it will affect people around that area with this projects going on. All the sustainability projects should mention more about the total amount of people working on the projects, the projects should cost a lot less and they projects should all be completed as early as possible instead of waiting so long for it to be completed because climate change is happening really fast and the projects are taking too long to be complete. Anyways thank you everyone for talking about sustainable projects that the Bay Area are planning to complete. I learned a lot about the project and now I can see a brighter future for the world thanks to the sustainability projects that are being produced and trying to be completed.


  12. Simon Wannehag Hagene
    USP 514

    Sustainability Challenges in the Bay Area

    Long-term planning. Most of the subject matters addressed in our class all have in common a misuse of funding, social inequity and short-term planning. The topics that caught my interests were on public transportation, privately owned public space, bicycle plan and urban agriculture.

    The Bay Area currently struggles to create affordable housing, reliable public transportation and facing the drought affecting all of California. First, the housing programs fail due to a growing number of businesses and people with money moving here. It’s also a problem that sites like AirBnb and wealthy people can own and control housing the way they do. More restrictions would ease up the situation. Beyond this, privately owned public spaces actually have to become readily available, unlike today, where finding them is almost by pure luck.
    Public transportation foremost crumbles due to the number of people traveling in and out of the areas they work. Muni not only needs a renewed fleet of light-rail cars, but better and more efficient routes as well as increased maintenance. BART needs a major overhaul to sustain further growth, and more importantly, scrap overly expensive projects similar to the new service of Oakland International Airport.
    Urban agriculture would encourage more greenery and sustainably produced local food. It’s a great step in the direction of food independency and would lessen the emissions from transportation. Certainly, it gives people a greater sense of community while giving local businesses a chance of thriving in the ever-growing capitalistic market of grocery stores. With focus on local solutions, one would additionally have to take into account and better our management of water usage. In the coming years, drastically lessening emissions and wasteful water usage have to be of considerable urgency.

    Overall, a long-term strategy of planned decentralization would help solve the pressure on the city’s largest issues. With expansion of public transportation, proper bicycle plans and greater housing/commercial development outside the city centers of San Francisco and Oakland, we could achieve a more social just and sustainable Bay Area in the future.


  13. In these presentations the main issues trying to be solved by the project proposed were issues of housing, transportation and adding more green landscape to the city through the use of tree planting as well as urban gardens. Although these projects aim to help urban setting create more sustainable cites future by encouraging practices that lower carbon emissions and encourage residents to support their communities, there are obstacles developers have to overcome. The main obstacle is the challenge of getting funding for these projects as well as having the funds necessary to continue this project going. This alone can be a major factor is weather the project will even be submitted for approval. From there, developers meet the project of getting approved by the city and other public sectors which can be a problem if the project does not go along with the goals of those divisions. If a projects is found to be controversial, there can also be push back from the community if effects and the public pressure can possibly defer the project from being completed. These issues usually come from accessibility and the ability for all members for the community have an equal chance to access the new addition to their area, this can range from being able to use a new transit feature to the ability for a family to access a hospital during a sporting event. There can also be public pressure applied if a project leads to the uprooting of families living in a certain area as a result of changes seen in the neighborhood. Developing a project that impacts an urban space come with a set of challenges that test the developers’ ability to be as sustainable as possible and to take into account all the agents being affected by this, whether it be public or otherwise, it is their responsibility to account for these trials.


  14. A common issue I noticed throughout the projects was insufficient funding. Whether it was on behalf of the government or the private sector, lack of funding was a big issue. Another common theme was lack of public support caused by lack of public awareness. As well as lack of government support however that was usually a result of not enough funding being provided. What seems to not be working throughout all of these projects is a lack of a holistic approach. I feel like certain projects were very good about addressing one aspect of sustainability while entirely neglecting another. I’m not really sure what to do to make the projects better. Maybe if the developers of the project were to examine each project through a critical sustainability lens, there would be fewer problems. For example the social aspect of sustainability, if a community is able to have a say in regards to the future of a project, it may be viewed as more sustainable. Public opinion and input could help shape the project to be more successful. Also, public awareness has an immense affect on what measures or laws are passed which then affect the outcome of the projects. I also think the intention of the project is very important. If a project is being implemented in order to create a better community then they are more often then not higher on the sustainability scale. If the project is created with the intention of creating profits, like for example a new high rise that would house wealthy individuals and displace lower income ones, this kind is viewed lower on the sustainability scale. Overall, each project had its own set of issues, many of which could be improved through better funding and support from the government and increased public awareness.


  15. All of the projects presented in class were very informative of what is currently happening or will happen across the Bay Area. Majority of the projects discussed catered to the issues of transportation and public space. The new developments will change the social aspects of the community by changing the usage of private and public transportation and public open space. It seems that the current and future development will encourage people to take public transportation and reduce the amount of private automobiles on the road. Public open space such as parks and other recreational places will be more available to the community. The Bay Area is either attempting to solve the problem of overcrowding or preparing for a future growth of population by increasing their utility capacity. However, the main common problem that these projects will face in the future is possible gentrification. Development and redevelopment will nonetheless increase the attractiveness of the area around it which will directly increase the property values. The competition will bring in crowds with higher income levels and will push away lower income residents who can not afford to live or do business in such areas. Those residents are then forced to reside in other places possibly causing more problems than it is solving.


  16. All of these projects that my classmates worked on were eye opening. I was unaware of many of the issues that were brought to my attention these past few weeks. There were many sustainability challenges that these projects possessed. One issue that I noticed across many of the projects was that people in our communities are being neglected while the wealthy continue to prosper. Families in the bay area are deprived of certain resources that can be beneficial to our communities. I noticed that our local governments are not taking into account the publics input when it comes to starting new projects. These developments were not what local residents wanted for their area. They were seen as invasive and undermining of what the community needs. The other problem I noticed across the board was that these developments required a large amount of funding. Many of the developments also required more than what was expected. The problem with this starts with the initial planning. There needs to be more attention to what the community needs. The public needs to be more involved in decision making within our cities. With this being said, before the project gets approved, there needs to be a vote of some sort in order to use certain areas to its fullest potential.


  17. After reviewing development projects in the Bay Area, I argue that the main issues lie in badly designed projects and a conflict of public needs and private interest. The projects are built and designed by private entities, and therefore are already in some way bias. The city doesn’t put too many regulations on what basic functions a building should have for the public and how it should fit the surrounding community. Developers will almost always only meet the minimum requirements and build only what is necessary. The Levi’s Stadium gets massive traffic jams during concerts or games, that the developers should have thought through better. The new Oakland Bart connector that connects Bart with the Oakland Airport is under critique for not having midway stops where people could get off and use the shopping areas. The businesses and people would greatly benefit if the design would have been better. In many projects, you also see the clash of private interest and public needs. Generally, a company has to maintain profit in order to exist. This often means that they build buildings that help gaining profit and by doing so, community needs are left out. The TPC Harding Park at Lake Merced is a massive golf course that is not utilized much by people. The community is demanding a restoration of the land to its former state and making it a protected park while the company running the golf course wants it to stay open.

    The main solution is better government policies that set higher standards such as more public functions, and accessibility of developments. This will ensure that the community around the project will also benefit. Furthermore, a key part should be the inclusion of the public when it comes to making decisions of what kind of project should be built in the community. For most developments, the soul purpose should be benefitting the community and creating jobs and resources for locals. It creates a more socially just environment and more resilient communities that work with the developers, instead of having a constant tension between the two parties.


  18. The projects presented in class all shared reoccurring themes, that they all faced challenges from. In regards to topics and issues pertaining to the projects presented in class, the reoccurring problems I saw were the timelines of these projects. Some of these projects were based off a twenty-year timeline while; other projects were forty years away from completion. Furthermore the funding of most projects didn’t seem ideal at all. Presentations portrayed that it cost billions of dollars to develop some of these projects that are unnecessary therefore; funding could perhaps be used on more prominent issues in communities. One last reoccurring theme I saw was that some of these projects were supporting gentrification. Examples could be the Bart line-connecting straight to SFO which would only help a small majority of the population. Furthermore the construction of high end luxury apartments in the heart of Oakland where low income housing is high, was another example of this. Overall the presentations proved to show great insight and attention to projects occurring around the Bay Area.


  19. USP-514
    Tretten Hagen
    Project Assessment.

    Each and every Project was very interesting in there own unique way. Many Were direct with points that showed significant research and others had basic informative pieces such as maps and plans to show a more visual study. Overall I enjoyed reviewing these projects and it has given me a better sense of what I need to do to improve. I thought that something that could benefit these presentations would be to allow individuals to meet in class time to discuss there projects with others before they were complete, as well as get more information on how the layout of a presentation should be. For example more pictures or fewer words?? I learned a lot from these presentations and in many different aspects that allow a more visual aspect on what sustainable development is. It was very interesting to see how diverse the projects were. I also think that each person should do there own project to give a greater ore of type of development projects. I would also like to see different types of community based planning besides more corporate or business based on money. Many of the projects on affordable housing were great although I think there needs to be an alternative to this idea of “affordable housing” and what we can do to change it. Again overall I thought these projects were very informative and I enjoyed listening to them.


  20. Cody Calamia
    Fall 2016

    After listening to all of the presentations of development projects I began to notice a few common overarching issues that were persistent throughout most of them. The most common and important issue that I see with these projects is that the public opinion is heard, but not actually listened to. The entities that are developing these projects are usually in it for a profit, and as a result it is the wealthy and powerful that are catered to, not the low/mid income citizens. If the ultimate goal of these development companies is to make a profit, they are not going to cater to “average” citizens, they will not care about blocking the entrance to a hospital, not about affordable housing, and not about genuinely protecting the environment.
    In addition, it seemed that the timeframes for the planning periods on these projects were excessively long. There appeared to be a lot of lengthy bureaucratic processes that did not necessarily result in an exceptional project. The cost of working through these lengthy processes are ultimately passed on to the consumers or residents of the project.


  21. There were many projects that were very new to me except for the BART extension. What interested me the most were all the redevelopment projects that are planned in the city. With the dynamics of the city changing, I was wondering if these projects uphold the equity principles in order to create a safe and social society. In my opinion, some projects seem doable in the near future, but some projects seem a little farfetched because of the time to complete the project and the amount of money needed. After watching all projects, one thing I noticed is that all projects only cater to small parts of communities. Most projects, unlike the BART and city trees, seem to aim to deliver certain amenities to only a single area in the city the project is in. Many of the projects were critique of proposals, so I believe another challenge for these projects is time. With our environments quickly changing, achieving sustainability for future generations will be difficult with projects that require a lot of time. How do we achieve sustainability within the time limit needed for people to be able to adapt to a quickly changing environment?


  22. The reflection of sustainable development projects

    According to our massive presentation of our mid-term projects, I feel I have learned to analyze how sustainability has encountered a variety of challenges contemporary. Based on the principles of achieving sustainable development, there are always have three main categories, which are social, environmental and economic considerations basically concluded all the goals and requirements of achieving sustainability. Moreover, I still want to divide those challenges into these three categories because I think that could help to illustrate the issues more clearly.
    In our social aspect, many projects indicated that lacking of housing, especially affordable housing would be the most challenging task for sustainable development in inner cities. Many lower class and middle class residents or families are still suffering from high rental rates and lack of housing choices in cities. Even though now a day so many cities governments are focused to cooperate with private sectors to create more affordable housing in both new and redevelopment project, the affordable housing demand is still way higher than the supply that the governments could provide. Furthermore, many minorities have got ignored since they didn’t have enough power to speak up. Therefore, they always become the target to be gentrified in inner cities.
    In terms of environmental issues, high-rise become very favorable in inner cities, but that somehow create more environmental concerns. For example, so many coastal regions are fascinated of high-rise because they lack of available land use. However, those regions have strong potential to encounter unpredictable disasters, so the safety issues were always remained in account. People who lived in cities also seriously lack of accessibility to public spaces or green spaces. Many of our projects showed that the developers and governments both emphasized to create more public spaces because public spaces have direct influences to humans well-being. Moreover, the projects of constructing rails and highways indicated that our transportations systems are still not good enough yet, so adding and repairing transportations infrastructures would be another main goal for sustainable development. Lastly, the massive construction in inner cities at the same time brought up a lot of pollution issues to cities, so the governments would have to create or amend policies to mandate the pollutions.
    Cities governments showed that they lack of ability to improve the infrastructures since many projects were based on the cooperation of governments and private sectors. That somehow dragged the sustainable development backward because the private sectors always want to make profits as their priorities. Moreover, inner cities investments could not really apply benefits to lower class or middle class residents. On the other hand, they are even suffering from the huge wealthy gap that created by massive investment in inner cities.


  23. There were several main challenges of sustainability of all the presented projects in San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the presented public transportation projects seem to lack cooperation with each other. There are problems such as lack of stations and the relatively high fees for certain extended transit lines. Possible solutions for these issues are to survey sufficient numbers of frequent public transit users. Researches for the necessary expansion on transit lines are also important. Cooperating with other existing transit services would help to improve the whole system, and to better allocate funding on necessary expenses.

    Other major problems with specific projects on site are the lack of social sustainability. Although many projects promised affordable units that is below Area Median Income (AMI), they are not truly affordable for people in need. Renters still need to pay for unaffordable rents and services surrounding the project sites. People and small business owners who belong to surrounding neighborhoods of the project site would be displaced due to the increase of property values and service prices. Government could require certain amount of affordable unit to be rented with voucher (Section 8). The City can also incentives developers to create more affordable housing and supportive services by offering tax credits deduction.

    Other challenges for these projects are the lack of funding and restrictions of ordinances and other requirements. Developers would be less likely to take social aspect into account because they might not have enough funding and time left after fulfilling all the project requirements by the City. It is time for the City’s Planning Departments and other related facilities to update and to accommodate with the post-sustainability model to persuade sustainability in new development projects.


  24. All of these project represented many of the problems the cities are facing in the Bay Area such as housing, gentrification, transportation, lack of public accessibility, more green and trees in landscapes, and many other sustainable project that are needed to improve the lives of people living in an urban setting. I was unaware of many of the problems that we faced in cites and how some of the projects even though they sound great and represent improvements in cities, there’s always some dangers and weaknesses in some projects that the planners are simply ignoring. One of the themes of projects I really liked was on transportation. I think there’s need of improving transportation in the Bay Area that many individuals heavily relied on commuting everyday. Any improvements and benefits of transportation people will accept them, but there are many who don’t see where and how the planners are getting their resources from, and if it’s actually harmful for our environment. One of the challenges that I saw from the sustainable is the lack of funding in many projects and lack of alliances in making project stronger. I think money will always come into play of how the project will work because of how overcrowded the Bay Area has become. Also, there are so many people with higher income living in the Bay Area nowadays, so the lower income will always become affected no matter how some planners are trying to help those people. Lastly, there needs to be more public awareness in the suitable projects. Individuals have to be more knowledgable of how exactly the project is being built or else, it’s going worsen things rather than creating a sustainable society for the the future.


  25. After having listened to all of the presentations regarding Bay Area projects through a sustainability lens, I observed a common thread of problems. It would appear that they all suffer from four systemic issues. They include the lack of technical expertise, lack of secured funding, extremely long project completion timelines, and specifically from a sustainability lens – a focus on city-level instead of regional project related effects. I recommend an integrated process when planning for city-level projects, which would include a regional board who reviews all projects and makes recommendations based on how the project(s) will impact the region as a whole. This process would be inclusive and would address sustainability issues related to environmental, social, and economic factors. The regional board would also make sure that the projects are realistic and not simply idealistic and that they are sufficiently funded to avoid project delays and an impacted project completion deadline. This, of course, would only work if the board was comprised of industry people with a diverse background.


  26. LaShan Wiley
    USP 514
    HW 10-22-16

    After listening to all the presentations the past two weeks the common denominator across the board was how projects are very expensive. Many projects focus on redevelopment of transportation, affordable housing and open spaces. Most projects focused on the aesthetics rather than its usage for everyone. In order for a project to be sustainable, its cost should be feasible to the demographics of the area, making it accessible for all people. For example, the BART extension to the Oakland Airport wasted millions of dollars to make the airport access slightly easier for high income people. If an AirTran or a shuttle bus with improved usage was created instead, BART fares would not increase and the money could have been used for extensions to Silicon Valley and Antioch. The shuttle bus would have been ideal because it would provide jobs for locals. I also enjoyed the presentation about privately owned- public open space (POPOS). These spaces are clearly created to blend in with the architecture of its surroundings and are mainly utilized for employees of nearby companies. I wondered how much money was used to create these spaces that are not really accessible to the public or how much money is spent on security to deter the public from using the space. I think these costs would serve the public better in public parks such as Snow Park. By using money towards safety and fun outdoor activities, it makes the city more inviting. Also, when redevelopment projects are green lighted, how much of the material used are from local companies? To address some of these issues, I would always address each project with, what is the best way to redevelop the project economically, sociably, and environmentally so it is created for its highest and best use.


  27. John Pascual
    USP 514

    I enjoyed the presentations because it offered issues of community with urban sustainability. I mean the local and global perspectives were the interesting part of the presentations, but also the different opinions from several interesting questions and feedback. One thing I’ve looked up after the presentations is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and this connection with the environment and urban planning. I’ve learned quite a deal of keywords and terminology which can help me on my next project. But overall, the presentations were nice and intricately woven into urban systems of urban community and sustainability. Much of the projects were a great way to understand what was happening around several community projects, not of my own. Moreover, this shows the importance of urban project management and accountability. In addition, I found these projects to have a lot of information understanding of environmental approaches to sustainability and how this addresses the coming pressures of global climate change and reducing carbon emissions. For example, several BART extension projects will help reduce the congestion and use of automotive vehicles and several projects that address the functionality of the urban environment. Again, these topics were quite interesting and provided some general context for urban projects.


  28. The presentations over the past two weeks were all very interesting and provided me with knowledge of how much goes into the planning of these projects throughout the Bay Area. When comparing all of the projects a common trend I think was the areas that benefited from the project and those who did not gain anything from it. From the way it was presented in class, wealthier areas would gain from the projects. For example the BART extension, the stations in higher income areas got redone and stations that are planned to be added are all in “safer” locations. Yet the BART stops in areas of the East Bay that are not seen as desirable stops are not on the plan to receive money. Another problem I thought was big, was the assumption that the people are always for these new projects. I feel that the officials who choose the projects and where they place them is not always agreed upon with the people that live that area and how it will effect their everyday lives. There is also the assumption that the project will always be beneficial and thats not the case. The big companies see a chance to increase an income and will exploit that situation.


  29. My impression of the social justice aspect of sustainability, as it applies to the projects we discussed in class, is that it is the least well-defined aspect of sustainable development. If a development project creates jobs, affordable housing, or some other community benefit for low-income populations that offsets its economic and environmental impact, there have to be some pre-set performance goals and measurable benchmarks that developers have to commit to in order for their plans to enter the entitlement process. With the Parkmerced plan equity is defined, however myopically, as the commitment to build replacement housing for the existing units the developers plan to demolish without building any new affordable housing during the plan’s 20-year scope. With some of the other projects, jobs are promised to the low-income community without any clear plan as to how to deliver on that guarantee. For example, the Oakland BART shuttle promised 500 jobs to the local community; only 13 were actually created. The SOMA Eco-Cities plan, a sub-set of the SOMA Area Plan, intends to combine the three factors of sustainability discussed in class with a waste-reduction and energy-efficiency program, but doesn’t meaningfully connect these benefits with actual community needs, partly because CEQA doesn’t require this of the plan. To close this gap, either CEQA would need to be reformed to include collecting impact data about social-justice factors along with the existing cultural resource factors it currently requires for developments in California, or local legislation would need to be amended to include this process. State or municipal level government are where there is the most legal and political leverage to fix inequitable development in the Bay Area.


  30. If we are to understand the issues pertaining to the Bay Area, then we must look at it as a cohesive region. One must be aware of individual issues and how they are interconnected to truly understand. The effect of building a rail line to Livermore in turn has consequences for housing affordability and environmental conservation. What I think these projects all have in common is their noble intentions. Some arguably, are for profit, but sometimes that is a necessary impetus to spur needed construction. Overall, these project are necessary improvements to the built environment, whether that be enhanced transit accessibility or sustainable agriculture. My main concern is to do with the “too little, too late” reality I see as a lifetime Bay Area resident who has witnessed skyrocketing growth. Residents did not prepare adequately for this economic boom, and many of our current issues stem from this. Some individual projects may be “bold” yes, but many more are needed to promote the kind of positive developments we would like to see. The “Not In My BackYard” contingent has made it difficult to pursue these projects without considerable backlash. Many are bogged down with excessive regulatory costs and years of litigation exacerbating the problem. What is needed is support of the “by right” construction of units and development to build at a faster timetable. Remove home-owners’ associations from dictating what can be built around them and allow the market to come in to fill in housing for every demographic. Gentrification is meaningless if everyone can find a roof over their head in their budget range. Hopefully, in the coming decades, with more of these projects seeing completion, the San Francisco Bay Area will serve as a beacon for how sustainable and interconnected design patterns can be feasible. The choices we make now will have ramifications on whether we will trend toward being a playground for the rich, or an integrated community for all members of society. The way forward is to promote these and other projects that would see this reality come to fruition. One must also be cautious and foresee some of the unintended consequences of certain project aspects. As urban planners and concerned citizens wishing for a progressive city landscape, would require us to be more engaged with public policy to counteract the regressive voices who would see the iniquitous status quo continue.


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