Saturday, April 11, 2015

Los Angeles-- A Great City Plan For Going Into The Future


I met Eric Garcetti at the home of a mutual friend years and years ago. He was running for City Council and he was happy to talk with me about the issues facing Los Angeles. But he didn't talk about the issues everybody else was talking about. Garcetti, the son of former L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti, studied urban planning at Columbia University and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. I remember being more impressed by his urban studies education and his vision for L.A. than I was with the specifics of standard politics.

Eric was a champion of environmental legislation on the City Council and helped found the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, like the 2009 water conservation ordinance he authored that requires all new construction and renovation projects to be equipped with high-efficiency water devices with the goal of conserving a billion gallons of water a year. If you watched the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, you saw Eric expounding the virtues of electric cars. He may not be the kind of socialist-leaning politician I usually get enthusiastic about, but he's been the best mayor L.A. has had in my decades here. He was the strong hand behind L.A.'s new City Plan.
On Wednesday, L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti released an ambitious plan that puts environmental, economic, and equality issues front and center in helping determine the trajectory of the city, which plans to add another half-million residents by 2035. The plan comes at a pivotal moment for the state and the city, as a four-year drought prepares to settle in for the summer months. Governor Jerry Brown just announced statewide water restrictions for the first time and the state just had its hottest 12-month stretch on record.

“Our first ever sustainability plan details actions we must take in the coming months and years to secure a future for L.A. that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous and equitable in opportunity for us all,” Mayor Garcetti said. “My back to basics approach is about making sure our city has the strong foundation it needs to soar to new heights.”

A few of the plan’s highlights include: becoming “the first big city in the nation to achieve zero waste” by 2025, fully divesting from coal-powered electricity by 2025, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, having zero smog days by 2025, and making it so that 50 percent of all trips taken by city residents are by bike, foot, or public transportation by 2035. The plan also makes commitments to reduce energy use in all buildings by 30 percent by 2035.

...The full plan spans 108 pages, covering everything from reducing potable water use by 10 percent in city parks to ensuring that 50 percent of the city’s light-duty vehicle purchases are electric vehicles by 2025. With the drought in full swing and no reason to believe that prayers for rain will bring lasting results, the city is hoping to reduce overall municipal water use by 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.

L.A. has some of the highest levels of income inequality in the country, and the plan attempts to combine the fight against climate change with the one against poverty. By 2017, the city will begin “constructing 17,000 new units of housing within 1,500 feet of transit.” There are also targets to reduce the number of rent-burdened households, fight asthma, limit food deserts, and distribute cap-and-trade funds.

“This plan puts L.A. at the very heart of sustainability efforts in cities across the country,” said Parfrey. “The environmental community wants it to be a great success.”

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home