Jerry Brown, once known as governor Moonbeam who signed into law the California Coastal Commission, now can be seen as the man behind handing it over to developers. Governor Brown must fire his four at-will commissioners with significant lapses of judgement and ethics, as well as his powerful backroom dealer from the Resources Agency.
We survey different aspects of urban and regional sustainability having to do with real estate development, design and construction, environmental regulatory policy, and the creation of a visionary tomorrow, learning the lessons from history’s good, bad, and ugly.
The California Environmental Quality Act, protector of resources and communities through consideration of implications of proposed projects, is under attack. Representatives from industry and real estate development, and sometimes even Governor Jerry Brown, seek ways to weaken it, or to exempt their pet projects. While the law is far from perfect, it remains the gold standard of environmental protection in the US.
Why did Coastal Commissioners dump popular Executive Director Charles Lester in a closed session at their February meeting in Morro Bay? It is part of a plan by well connected lobbyists and lawyers pushing environmentally damaging projects for their wealthy clients.
Takeaways from a recent Green Festival Expo discussion on the Los Angeles River Revitalization include that the job of planning for water resiliency belongs to all of us, not Frank Gehry regardless of his recent charge, and we must also consider how public access, parkland, ecosystem restoration, cargo and passenger rail, bicycle greenways, and anti-gentrification environmental justice will fit into the mix. Collaboration is the key.
Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.
The California Coastal Commission failed to enforce the Coastal Act and did not require a Laguna hotel renovation to address destruction of affordable rooms and environmental habitat as well as finish the long-awaited Trail to the Sea.
“Vertical City,” a complete ecosystem in the sky that you never have to leave, accommodates population growth and protects the planet, but may have significant drawbacks for the people who call it home and their connection to the earth. Projects in China and Dubai illustrate the concept and its limitations.