Urban Land Use

Well-considered urban land strategies are essential to the well being and quality of life of all residents of and visitors to California. Growth must be planned to maximize urban potential and minimize impact on natural resources. Undeveloped lands, wilderness and agricultural lands are necessary for the ecological sustainability of the Earth and must be preserved.

Because the Earth is essentially a closed system, it cannot tolerate unrestrained growth without serious environmental consequences. However, uncontrolled growth and over-development are seen by some as inevitable, or economically desirable ends in themselves. The consequence of this over-development has been and continues to be environmental destruction as areas exceed their natural carrying capacities.
By following the specific items set forth below, planners can design Urban Land Use strategies that will help reduce each person's ecological footprint. Presented by Wackernagel and Rees in their 1996 book Our Ecological Footprint, this term refers to the amount of land the average person actually uses, given overall consumption of housing, food, energy, etc. A smaller ecological footprint per person means less impact on our environment.
The Green Party supports coordinated urban land use patterns that help preserve agricultural and wilderness lands.
The Green Party proposes to:
Support ecologically sound, sustainable development and community movements that encompass principles of long-term planning, regenerative ecological design, and the co-existence of human populations with other species and natural systems. Support the use of green technologies that restore natural ecosystems while improving the quality of life for humans.
Support the use of the ecological footprint model, among others, to help communities assess the burden they place on their local, regional, and global environment, and in understanding where they can apply the above concepts in their own communities.
Encourage appropriately higher-density communities and urban infill development as two possible solutions to prevent urban sprawl into agricultural and wilderness areas.
Integrate an increased and sufficient number of affordable housing units into urbanized areas to address the dwelling needs of all citizens, regardless of income. These units should remain a part of the affordable housing stock for the life of the units.
Support population densities in urbanized areas with appropriate infrastructure to facilitate public transit travel, shopping, recycling, renewable energy production, urban forestry, habitat restoration, public park renewal, and the re-development of brownfields.
Support urban planning and development that protects current residents from displacement and encourages a wide variety of housing that will attract a wide variety of new residents.
Support environmental justice policies that give communities a voice in planning future development with the goal of preventing concentration of polluting infrastructure in under-represented poor and/or minority communities.
Plan open spaces, parklands, greenbelts, and public garden plots as components of all development plans to maintain a high quality of life.
Locate schools, places of employment, medical facilities, and shopping areas within easy walking or bicycling distances from residences, or at mass transit stops.
Include bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, for instance safe, inter-connected bike paths and pedestrian-only malls, in development plans.
Support efforts of cities and counties to re-develop, restore, and revitalize impacted local ecosystems.
Support the long-term goal of re-establishing land use patterns and electoral districts consistent with a bioregional model of land use. Make land decisions cooperatively to match ecological demarcations of space.
Explore closed-loop sewage treatment systems and urban graywater systems wherever possible.
Change tax and planning laws to promote decentralized, renewable energy infrastructures in urban and suburban areas.
Change tax and planning laws to promote restoration and revitalization of degraded lands, improvements in watershed management, and protection/reintroduction of listed, threatened, or endangered species in suburban, rural, and agricultural areas.
Educate Californians about reducing levels of consumption including over-consumption of living space.