Sustainable Land Use

About the Land Use Program

Sustainable land use is central to achieving our long-term environmental goals, as well as improving quality-of-life and economic outcomes. Federal, state and local officials all have a role to play in promoting advance land use planning for critical infrastructure, such as our transportation systems, renewable energy and other clean technology siting, and downtown-style development that boosts walking, biking, and transit usage.

Our Land Use program examines the most promising law and policy solutions to encourage sustainable land use, assesses the costs and benefits of policies to inform land use decision-making, and promotes dialogue among broad groups of development stakeholders.

Getting it Right: Examining Local Land Use Entitlement Process

California’s housing affordability crisis has rightly received a great deal of attention. To help understand whether CEQA or local land-use law constrain housing development, we collected data on all residential development projects (of more than five units) over a three-year period in five Bay Area cities.

Our new report analyzes these data and applicable law, finding that local governments are imposing discretionary review processes on all residential development projects of five or more units and that this triggers CEQA review.