Towards more safe, affordable homes (part III of III): Protecting our environment

This post focuses on a specific element of our Housing4All plan, the need to protect our natural resources, our environment, and do our part to stop global warming.  I have also posted about the two key sides of our approach in other posts. You can read about the community-based/government part of our solution here and improving the market realities to increase supply here.

What does a housing plan have to do with the environment?

The answer is basically everything.  It is worth adding that you can’t develop a comprehensive approach to housing without factoring in transportation and jobs. However, there is so much involved in each of these three elements that most people can’t really be expected to digest all three elements at the same time. Our campaign will release plans for regional transportation and economic development and then help you as a voter see how we plan to integrate all three concepts in a way that puts children first and supports our seniors in innovative ways.

How does your plan protect San Diego’s environment?

San Diego is beautiful. I grew up here and after living in other places I became even more certain that I want to grow old in the same place I grew up. In large part, that’s about access to beaches and bays, opportunities to hike and bike, and temperate weather that almost always feels climate-controlled. We developed the Housing4All plan with specific elements that will protect our environment while making San Diego more affordable. These elements are:

  1. Focusing growth. The County has a General Plan for growth and we believe with tweaks to the housing rules we can focus our growth to minimize environmental impacts to open spaces and our natural environment.
  2. Build where we have resources. The San Diego County Water Authority has identified areas that receive water service. By focusing building in those areas we protect the back country and wilderness for our children and generations to come.
  3. Put services closer to needs. We encourage changing rules to allow certain land uses like malls to be innovatively re-imagined as intergenerational centers, quality child care facilities, health care nodes, and other high-need uses that are placed close to homes so that we burn less gasoline.
  4. Encourage open space protection. Being smart about growth and protecting our watersheds will improve the natural filtration of our waterways while preserving San Diego’s beauty.

It is true that to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan focuses primarily on changing our energy sources. But to fully protect our environment, we can’t leave anything on the table – including making sure we protect the back country from development.

Our Housing4All plan rejects the notion that responsible building must come at the expense of natural beauty and preservation.  Community, the building industry and environmental advocates came together to develop a General Plan for growth and our plan respects that work while tackling the biggest crisis we face – housing affordability. We must lead on environmental protection while meaningfully addressing our housing affordability crisis. This plan strikes that balance.

Our Housing4All plan has four core principles. Enhance quality of life, improve reliability in rules, decrease overall cost, and protection of our natural beauty. To view or share a 30-second video about these pillars, click here. These are the principles of our Housing4All plan and what we need for all San Diegans.