All of us Bay Area residents live in towns or cities that vary in size and many of us try to keep up with the issues that affect our communities. Our city leaders try their best to represent us but are tasked with reconciling numerous competing local and regional interests. While Home Rule allows cities to make many decisions independently with very little input from higher levels of government, any given community is a part of a greater region.
The Bay Area is known globally for its planning challenges and for good reason. Job growth has dramatically outpaced new housing development resulting in an acute housing stock and affordability crisis. The limited reach of public transit means residents have limited means of mobility. Our roadways are congested and commute times are higher than ever. These conditions and many others have put more pressure on the higher levels of government to start the process of reducing the amount of local control that cities have over their own land uses decisions.
As city planners and urban designers, we believe the best response to these planning challenges is to ensure our cities are able to make good decisions that benefit residents while also embracing their vital role in greater regional issues.
KeepPlanningLocal.org will explore this theme of local decision making, how it intersects with regional issues and how to find the right balance. There are no easy answers, but our hope is that this site will help demystify planning issues while opening up a positive dialogue amongst anyone who lives in a community and cares about its future.
While our focus is on the Bay Area, there is a lot to learn from communities across the world – we’ll talk about it all.
Have something to say? Drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.
Keepplanninglocal.org was started by M-Group, a Bay Area planning firm, as a public service. The content is up for discussion and we hope you want to contribute too.