How Should California Grow?


How Should California Grow?

Article Special Series Bill Higgins

California’s Growth Demands Vision, a Long-Term Plan and Clear Policy Direction

Bill Higgins is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at Previously he was director of the Land Use Program for the Institute for Local Government.

California is in the throes of massive population growth — it has doubled in size since 1965 and is expected to be home to more than 50 million people by 2040.

Article Special Series

California ’s Infrastructure: A Legacy in Peril

This article is excerpted from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) California Infrastructure Report Card 2006. Reprinted with permission. For more information about ASCE, visit Special thanks to Yazdan Emrani, president, ASCE Orange County Branch, and Mike Kincaid, past president, ASCE San Francisco Section, co-chairs of the California Infrastructure Report Card 2006, for their assistance.

The magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, the dams and water systems of the west, our transcontinental railroads and unparalleled network of modern interstates, and the airports, seaports, tunnels and transit systems that serve our cities — all of these are part of California’s infrastructure.

Article Special Series

Why We Must Invest in California’s Water Infrastructure

Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California.

As everyone reading this magazine knows, a solid infrastructure system is the key to a strong economy and a high quality of life.

Article Special Series Ellen Hanak

Delta Blues: What Troubles in the Delta Mean for California

Ellen Hanak is an associate director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California. Her recent report (co-authored by Jay Lund, William Fleenor, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle), Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is available online at

On any given day, a visitor to California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta might see acres of verdant cropland, meandering boaters, recreational anglers and some Swainson’s hawks or sandhill cranes. Being there, it’s hard to imagine that this peaceful region is in deep trouble and that its fate will have serious consequences for residents throughout the state.

Article Special Series Julie Spezia

Strategies and Tools for Meeting California’s Affordable Housing Needs

An alarming trend is appearing in California’s communities: We are losing our young adults (age 20 to 34). It’s not surprising that when young couples decide to start a family and create a home, they look outside the state for an affordable place to live and work. This is happening throughout the nation in areas where home prices and rents have far out paced take-home pay. Not coincidentally, these same communities have not allowed much in the way of new home production in the past 20 years. Meanwhile, young adults are finding them selves priced out of their hometowns and are forced to move farther away from their families.

Article Special Series Tom Adams

The Road Less Traveled: Why Fewer Miles Are Better

Last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, California’s landmark law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The largest single sector of greenhouse gas emissions comes from cars and light trucks, much of which is attributable to our land use patterns.

Article Special Series Gilda Haas

Are We Growing Together or Growing Apart?

4 Questions to Consider

Last year, my hometown of Los Angeles was awarded the dubious distinction of being the most unequal city in the country. The gap between L.A.’s richest and poorest residents is greater than in any other U.S. city. In 1970, according to the Brookings Institute, 52 percent of L.A. neighborhoods were middle income. By 2000, that dropped to 28 percent, ranking lowest among the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country. In the process, Los Angeles had achieved an economic inequality index equivalent to that of Mexico.

Article Special Series Ray Kerridge

Growing Up Versus Growing Out: Sacramento’s Infill Challenges

4 Questions to Consider

Something big is looming in Sacramento. Projected to expand by more than 200,000 residents — nearly 50 percent of its current population — by 2030, California’s capital is facing significant growth.

Article Special Series Lester Snow

Meeting California’s Future Water Needs

Lester Snow is director of the state Department of Water Resources (DWR). For more about DWR, visit .

A clean and reliable water supply fuels California’s economy, landscape and population. The Golden State is the nation’s top exporter of computers, electronic products and food. With more than 36 million people, California is also the most populous state in the nation. Redwood forests, sandy beaches, wild rivers, mountains and deserts make up the state’s landscape, and this diverse natural environment is home to many endangered species.

Article Special Series Gary A. Patton

Water and Growth in California

Gary A. Patton is the executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, a statewide organization that has been working on land use and environmental issues in the California Legislature for more than 40 years. From 1975-95 Patton served as a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. He is the author of that county’s successful growth management program. He can be reached at <>. For more about the Planning and Conservation League, visit .

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) makes it a legal requirement for local governments to study the impacts of any proposed action before they make growth-related decisions. In recent years, state legislation has emphasized that local governments must fully explore water supply issues in connection with their development-related decisions (see Government Code section 66473.7).

Article Special Series Hans Johnson

The Amazing, Changing California Population

Hans Johnson Ph.D. is a demographer and research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. He is the author of numerous reports on the state’s changing population, all of which are available at

Any number of superlatives could be used to describe California’s astounding growth. The state’s population, which has doubled since 1965, consists of more than 37 million people today. That growth sets California apart from the rest of the developed world. During the 20th century, California grew at a faster rate than any other large developed region on earth. The state’s population now exceeds that of all but 32 countries. To put it another way, California’s population is larger by several million than all of Canada’s, and within the next 10 years it is likely to surpass that of Spain.

Article Special Series Carol Whiteside

Examining Options for Growth in California

Carol Whiteside is executive director of the Great Valley Center based in Modesto. She can be reached at For more information about the Great Valley Center, visit

The California story is about growth. Since the Gold Rush, people have come to California from every corner of the earth, seeking wealth and opportunity, fleeing long winters and harsh governments, and looking for the chance to build a new life. The population has doubled, redoubled and doubled again. Looking ahead, demographers at the state Department of Finance project that our population will continue to grow from 37 million today to more than 50 million by 2040.

Article Special Series William Fulton

Plotting a Course for the Next Generation of Growth

William Fulton is president of Solimar Research Group, Inc., and a council member for the City of Ventura. He is the author of several landmark books on land use and cities, including Guide to California Planning, The Reluctant Metropolis and The Regional City. Fulton can be reached at

Here’s one of the most amazing facts I’ve ever heard: California has been adding more than 1,000 people to the state’s population every day for almost 70 years.