Land Use (News)

Low-wage jobs drive Silicon Valley employment growth, forcing more workers into long commutes

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/05/2012 - 12:39pm
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Jobs paying less than $50,000 a year make up the majority of Silicon Valley’s projected employment growth, according to a 2012 report, and that means many more workers will commute long distances because they can’t afford to live in the valley.

In a housing market inflated by high-salary technology jobs, the median price of a single-family residence in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties remains at nearly $700,000.

The cost of renting is often out of reach as well. The report, released by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and Urban Habitat, shows that the average Silicon Valley bank teller, paramedic, waiter or retail employee falls well short of the annual salary needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment: $69,560 in Santa Clara County and $82,400 in San Mateo County.

As a result, 98,000 cars commute to and from the valley each day, and more than one-third of the workers driving them earn less than $40,000 annually, the report said.

Some commute from Stockton or Modesto (both almost two hours east of Silicon Valley), others from Hercules (more than an hour north). Even though housing is much cheaper there, these long-distance commuters pay in other ways: They spend a big chunk of their income on transportation and also lose time with their families.

Death of Oakland's Retail Plan

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 11:03am

Park Oakland loses a $1 billion a year to other cities, and without redevelopment, the city's plans for a major shopping district in Upper Broadway may be history. 

Glenda Barnhart and her partner Clay Wagers dreamed of opening a bicycle shop. In 2008, as the economic meltdown started to spread nationwide, she feared that she would lose her income as a consultant and noticed that a bike shop was for sale around the Valdez Triangle. She took one look at bike shop and walked out. The area also known as Upper Broadway — failing auto dealerships, vacant storefronts, desolation — reinforced the thought it would be a horrible idea to buy that shop.

Six months later, Barnhart noticed the bike shop was still for sale. But this time she saw signs that the area was springing back to life. The nearby Whole Foods on 27th and Harrison streets had become a vibrant attraction for area shoppers. Condos were popping up close by, new restaurants were opening, and a nascent art community was blooming. It was time, she concluded, to buy that shop — Bay Area Bikes. "If we do this now," Barnhart recalled thinking, "we will be getting on the ground floor of something big. It was my dream to retire and do what I love."

City Council OKs community benefits for Oakland Army Base project

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 3:17pm
Source: 

Marilyn Bechtel/PW

OAKLAND, Calif. - A new chapter opened Feb. 7 in the long saga of efforts to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base, as the City Council approved guiding principles to assure Oakland residents priority for construction jobs and for the warehouse and goods movement jobs that are to follow.

The base is especially important to the city's economic life because it is next to the Port of Oakland, the nation's fifth busiest port, in a working-class area where unemployment is high.

Agreement on the provisions came after years of discussion, and a nine-month process that brought together labor, community members, environmentalists and the business community, with Councilmember Jane Brunner playing a major role. Participating in the discussions was the 30-organization Revive Oakland! coalition of clergy, workers, youth, and neighbors from West and East Oakland.

Besides construction jobs, the project is expected to create some 2,500 to 3,000 permanent jobs.

Interview with members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 08/03/2011 - 3:34pm
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The California Redistricting Commission is set to release its completed political district maps on Friday. Commissioners Cynthia Dai, of San Francisco, and Connie Galambos Malloy, of Oakland, talk with Belva Davis about the process and challenges of drawing new district lines for California.

Rethinking Cities: Sunnyvale Film and Discussion Series

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 04/22/2011 - 12:49pm
Source: 

http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/Images/Public_Transport.jpgThis film series explores how sprawl replaced traditional neighborhoods and what can be done to bring back community and sustainability to our cities and towns. The Films start at 7 PM, Laurel Room, Sunnyvale Community Center, 550 East Remington. Doors open at 6:45. FREE.
   
May 6: Save Our Land, Save Our Towns (1 hr)
Small town newsman Tom Hylton explores why America's towns have declined and what we can do to revive them. Philadelphia Daily News praises, “Development and zoning issues normally make the eyes glaze...Tom Hylton makes them downright fascinating."
www.saveourlandsaveourtowns.org/video.html


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May 13: Creating Places We Want to Live

Portland: A Sense of Place (Design e2 Episode) (30 minutes) 2008  
Thanks to a progressive public transportation portfolio that includes train, streetcar, bus and aerial tram, Portland has become one of the most livable cities in the US.

Community by Design (26 minutes) 1997
Learn about the key role that design plays in building community from some leading progressive thinkers on the subject.
www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/wwl3.html

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Transit-Oriented Development and Communities of Color: A Field Report

Submitted by Land Use on Mon, 04/04/2011 - 12:04am

By Gen Fujioka

The following article originally appeared in The Planner's Network and is reposted here with permission from the author, Gen Fujioka (Senior Policy Advocate at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development).

Transit-oriented development (TOD) has become a leading policy prescription for reversing America’s sprawling path of growth. The Obama administration, through its Sustainable Communities Initiative, state and local agencies and progressive think-tanks all emphasize TOD as a means to achieve housing, transportation and environmental goals, often through public-private partnerships. But as TOD has been justifiably promoted as the cleaner alternative to auto-dependent development, gaps have appeared in the discourse that understate its costs. This report seeks to fill in some of those gaps with snapshots from four communities of color that have been impacted by various stages of TOD in the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Minneapolis–Saint Paul.

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