By Jared Huffman and Ethan Elkind,
San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 30, 2009

For the first time in the nation’s history, the 2003 sales price per square foot for attached housing (the condominiums and townhouses that are central to sustainable development) was higher than the square-foot price of the detached housing that makes up suburban life…

In addition to being in demand, sustainable development represents a critical means of combatting climate change. Auto pollution represents the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and our auto-dependent development patterns are the direct cause. The Urban Land Institute’s 2007 book, “Growing Cooler,” concludes that even with future improvements in fuel efficiency, we will need to remove the roadblocks to sustainable development in order to fight climate change. And more compact, walkable neighborhoods create additional environmental benefits, such as preserving open space and agricultural land and reducing the air pollution that causes smog.

It’s time for California cities to start encouraging sustainable development in the form of walkable neighborhoods that offer citizens with housing, jobs, parks, retail, and amenities in close proximity. According to this article by Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael and Bank of America Climate Change Research Fellow Ethan Elkind, 78% of Californians support the idea of changing land use and transportation policy so that people drive less. It’s a popular idea. Now its time for local governments to embrace it through planning and policy.