Housing must be considered through a regional lens. Planning for housing city by city or county by county without considering regional implications exacerbates racial and income inequality, and ignores the environmental impacts associated with development, land use, and transportation. With projections that the Bay Area will grow by two million people over the next 25 years it is critical that the nine-county Bay Area work together to accommodate these new residents to mitigate the impact to our residents, their quality of life, and the region’s economic success.
Regional Planning Bodies
Regional planning in the Bay Area is coordinated by two regional planning bodies.
- The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) oversees transportation planning, financing, and coordination. MTC works to improve communities, support the urban core, and encourage transit-oriented development that integrates housing, jobs, and retail around transit hubs.
- The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is the Bay Area’s Council of Governments, providing planning and research around a variety of issues faced by the more than 100 area governments, preparing information on housing trends, and managing the Regional Housing Needs Allocation process.
In 2016, ABAG and MTC began conversations about merging. The two entities are currently in the process of “consolidating their staffs to increase efficiencies, create new opportunities for collaboration, maximize resources, and better serve the San Francisco Bay Area.”
CASA – the Committee to House the Bay Area
In December of 2016, the MTC Board approved the creation of CASA – the Committee to House the Bay Area – with the purpose of developing a comprehensive regional approach to identify game changing regional solutions that address the region’s chronic housing challenges, with a focus on supply, affordability at all income levels, and preservation/anti-displacement. The Committee is comprised of two groups – a steering committee and a technical committee.
CASA formally launched in early 2018, beginning with a series of workshops to develop an agreed upon framework. Throughout the winter, SV@Home’s Executive Director Leslye Corsiglia co-chaired CASA alongside Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, and Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners. Throughout 2018, CASA continued their work, moving from a framework to established Action Plans that then informed the final CASA Compact, approved by the Steering Committee on December 12, 2018.
With a finalized Compact as a guide, CASA shifts to the implementation phase. Next steps in 2019 include collaborating with local and state officials to establish a legal framework based on the principles of the CASA Compact.
Plan Bay Area
A cooperative effort between MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Plan Bay Area is a long-range regional transportation plan for the nine-county Bay Area that incorporates a State-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy (see SB 375 below). As required by both State and federal law, the regional plan must be updated at least every four years to incorporate new funding and population forecasts. For the past two years, MTC has been working on the update – Plan Bay Area 2040 – with approval anticipated later this year. One of the four strategies included in the Plan is to “increase the accessibility, affordability and diversity of housing.”
The State’s landmark planning law — the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, known better as simply Senate Bill 375 — was approved in 2008 requiring metro areas to adopt strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks as assigned by the State Air Resources Board (ARB).
SV@Home’s Position: We Need to Implement Regional Solutions to Increase Affordable Housing
SV@Home supports a strong regional approach to the Bay Area’s housing crisis and has the following priorities:
- Facilitating regional coordination in Santa Clara County by considering new ways to work regionally. This includes exploring regional planning around housing needs, revenue sharing, and the possibility of a Joint Powers Authority or other structure to manage affordable housing programs throughout the County.
- Participating in the conversation throughout the nine-county Bay Area by working with regional partners, including sister housing advocacy organizations, transit agencies, and others to connect the work SV@Home is doing in the South Bay to the rest of the Bay Area.
- Engaging employers in the affordable housing solution by supporting employer investment in affordable housing developments, and other innovative efforts like creating space for housing on their campuses and building housing over parking lots.
In June 2017, the California Air Resources Board released a proposed update to the Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets.
Regional Planning Resources
- Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) & Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG): Plan Bay Area 2040
- Enterprise: “The Elephant in the Region: Charting a Path for Bay Area Metro to Lead a Bold Regional Housing Agenda,” 2017
- Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California: “On Track Together: Housing and Transportation: Building the Bay Area’s Vibrant, Sustainable, and Affordable Future Together,” 2017
- Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC): Vital Signs Website
- UC Davis Center for Regional Change: “The Effectiveness of Regional Housing Policy: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area,” 2015
- Metropolitan Transportation Commission: “Regional Housing Policy,” 2016
- California Air Resources Board: “Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)” 2017