Sustainable Development: Removing the Roadblocks

July 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Affordable Housing, Community Development + Public Finance, Real Estate | No comment


Jason A. Hobson was recently a member of a roundtable discussion at the UCLA School of Law’s Environmental Law Center on how Climate Change will create opportunities for specific sectors of the business community and how policy makers can facilitate those opportunities.   The result of the discussion was a  policy paper sponsored by Bank of America and produced by a partnership or the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), UCLA School of Law’s Environmental Law Center & Emmert Center on Climate Change and the Environment and the California Attorney General’s Office.

The white paper concluded the following are the Top Five Roadbloacks to Sustainable Development, which is typified by walkable communities that consume less open space and requires less driving, with a focus on urban infill and revitalization of existing communities:

The Top Five Roadblocks to Sustainable Development:

1) Inadequate infrastructure, such as a lack of public transit, insufficient or aging utilities, and underperforming schools in city centers and other areas that are prime locations for sustainable development.

2) An uncertain regulatory process resulting from myriad local government requirements, planning and zoning restrictions, fire and other code limitations, extensive project-specific environmental review processes, and local opposition (“no growth” advocates and unhappy neighbors).

3) Higher economic costs to build in existing neighborhoods resulting from a typically more expensive construction process, longer permitting time, and additional infrastructure burdens that make sustainable development less economically competitive than constructing in undeveloped areas.
4) Fiscalization of land use that encourages local governments to permit large single-use, auto-oriented retail buildings to maximize sales tax revenue and minimize infrastructure costs, rather than mixed-use development.

5) Laws and regulations that prevent wider use of renewable energy and innovative water conservation systems, as well as the high up-front costs of installing energy efficiency and renewable energy systems on existing buildings.


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