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Sustainable Development Update
August 2, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

Architects were asked to design appealing homeless shelters on a $1-million budget. Here's what they came up with

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Jul 30 Three teams of architects recruited by the nonprofit Urban Land Institute have submitted designs for homeless shelters of 50, 100, and 150 beds, in support of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s $20-million initiative to build shelters in all 15 of Los Angeles’ City Council districts. The architects, working pro bono, aimed to come up with standard designs that could be placed on a lot anywhere in the city, and are pleasing enough to help the shelter plan overcome its two biggest obstacles: the reputed aversion homeless people have for the dreary conditions in shelters and the almost inevitable community opposition that shelter proposals encounter. Summer interns are sifting through CBRE’s real estate database looking for sites — preferably on land owned by federal, state, or local governments, or churches — that would accommodate one of the three plans, said Lewis Horne, president of CBRE’s greater Los Angeles-Orange County region.


How states are rethinking roads

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - Jul 17 Parts of Los Angeles are often draped in what the Environmental Protection Agency refers to as a "heat island effect," in which busy foot and vehicle traffic work in conjunction with heat-absorbing black pavement to effectively make an area hotter than it already would have been. The Bureau of Street Services for the City of Los Angeles secured $150,000 in funding from the Los Angeles City Council and last summer began treating one block in each of the city's 15 districts with CoolSeal coating – a paint-like material that covers the road in a lighter hue, theoretically reflecting more heat away from the road to maintain cooler temperatures. During a pilot program that involved a single parking lot in 2015, the Bureau of Street Services found that the CoolSeal-treated area yielded a road surface temperature 10 to 15 degrees cooler than its blacktop surroundings.

How California Is pioneering ‘energy justice’

YALE ENVIRONMENT 360 - Jul 30 California has started confronting the interwoven issues of poverty and pollution by funneling hundreds of millions of cap-and-trade dollars into bringing free renewable energy, energy efficient upgrades, and technical assistance to the dwellings of its most vulnerable citizens. The main vehicle so far has been the $38 million Low-Income Weatherization Program, (LIWP), which the state estimates has reduced energy use by an average of 44 percent for those participating since the initiative began in 2016. LIWP’s initial focus has been on the places where the vast majority of poor people live — low-income multifamily rental properties. In a 2016 study, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that low-income households, particularly among African Americans and Latinos, pay more for utilities per square foot than the average household – by some estimates triple the rate.

South San Francisco pushes for linkage fees

THE SAN MATEO DAILY JOURNAL - Jul 24 South San Francisco officials support establishing fees paid by developers interested in building new workspaces to offset the affordability crunch, but uncertainty lingers over the preferred rates. The South San Francisco Planning Commission recommended implementing commercial linkage fees during a meeting on July 19 to beef up the city’s affordable housing fund. But commissioners offered divergent opinions on the costs developers should pay. City staffers are recommending the City Council approve charging builders $5 per square foot of new hotel space; $2.50 for restaurant or retail square footage; and $15 for the same amount of office, medical or research and development space. The issue will continue onto the City Council for further consideration next month.

Huffman bill seeks to expand northwest California wilderness protections

EUREKA TIMES-STANDARD - Jul 27 California 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said while it is unusual to include active logging in a wilderness protection bill, the bill he introduced to Congress last Friday is not your everyday piece of environmental legislation. On top of protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of North Coast land and hundreds of miles of rivers in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, and Trinity counties from development, Huffman’s Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act goes beyond by including new trails, coordinating cleanup of illegal marijuana grows on public land, and bolstering defenses against large wildfires. The bill would prohibit further development of about 260,000 acres of federal public lands and about 380 miles of rivers, meaning no new dams, major water diversions, logging, mining, and other development.

Groundwater recharge project informs statewide sustainability efforts

UC SANTA CRUZ - Jul 30 The depletion of California's aquifers by overpumping of groundwater has led to growing interest in "managed aquifer recharge," which replenishes depleted aquifers using available surface waters, such as high flows in rivers, runoff from winter storms, or recycled waste water. At the same time, there is growing concern about contamination of groundwater supplies with nitrate from fertilizers, septic tanks, and other sources. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz are addressing both issues with an ongoing program in the Pajaro Valley, where they have been implementing and studying groundwater recharge projects and evaluating methods to improve water quality as it infiltrates into the ground. In a study accepted for publication in Water Research and available online, Fisher's team showed that simply adding a layer of woodchips where water infiltrates into the ground can remove nitrate from the water by stimulating microbial activity in the underlying soil.

Services like UberPool are making traffic worse, study says

THE WASHINGTON POST - Jul 25 The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities, and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked, or avoided the trip, according to a new report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse. Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Lyft disputed Schaller’s findings, pointing to its own sustainability efforts, its urban mobility focus, and claims from passengers who report giving up their cars — though the locations where those reductions took place were not immediately clear.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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