The first visioning session closed on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. You are still welcome to add more comments. Edits to the vision are underway and will be followed by another visioning period.

  1. Use the "like/dislike" buttons to express approval or disapproval of each vision element.
  2. Read other peoples' comments (Click "Discuss.") Give thumbs up to comments you agree with.
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Why do we care about urban land use?

Urban land use issues are intimately tied to transportation issues--which have a large carbon footprint-- but are invisible to many people. Let's learn from the past, taking what's worked before and implementing those lessons in ways better suited to our current and future circumstances.

Transportation needs are largely the result of the urban land use decisions about where and how we build. Most of the development in our county has been guided by the "sprawl" model of development which strictly segregated uses -- like housing, retail, office, industrial, municipal, recreational -- and required miles and miles of car travel to get from one use to another.

"Smart growth" can be thought of as the antithesis of sprawl. Its defining characteristics are:

  • Compact, dense cities and towns
  • Pedestrian and bike-friendly streets
  • Public transit-oriented or mixed transportation modes, and
  • Mixed-use, non-hierarchical zoning.

Smart growth is an effort to return to the wisdom embedded in the design of our cities and towns as they had evolved over the whole course of human history up until the middle of last century. City planners and state planning agencies recognize the virtues of smart growth.


Lively, mixed-use downtowns, vibrant places where people want to be. A mix of retail, co-work, office, residential, park, playground, entertainment, gathering, and other uses.

Neighborhoods will be anchored by community nodes: shops and services located around small town squares or other public spaces, easily accessible on foot or by bike.

  DISCUSS




Active-transportation-centric planning to replace car-centric planning of the past. Communities will make it possible to live and work without owning a car, instead relying on active transportation (such as bicycling and walking) and public transportation.

This type of planning will bring about safer streets through a variety of techniques including protected bicycle routes and narrower car traffic lanes.

  DISCUSS




Alternative housing solutions to provide affordable, small-footprint housing for more people. Tiny homes (300-400 square feet or less!) will be widely scattered throughout residential neighborhoods and also aggregated into little communities. Urban campgrounds, like KOA-type communities, will provide shelter to hundreds of people in tents, small cabins, travel trailers, and mobile homes.

  DISCUSS




Fewer parking lots and more urban space dedicated to homes, shops, parks, and other places for people. On street parking prioritizes bicycles and carpool vehicles.

  DISCUSS




Urban spaces that integrate with nature. This will include:
  • Less asphalt and more permeable, green ground cover;
  • Tree-lined streets for shade and summer cooling;
  • Easily accessible parks and open spaces within a 10-minute walk of all homes, in all neighborhoods;
  • Urban creeks and waterways open and available to the people for play, exploration, shade, and solace.

  DISCUSS




Interactive, community-oriented neighborhoods that serve our basic needs. These will include corner grocery stores and other shops (coffee shops, sandwich shops, flower shops, etc.) scattered throughout residential neighborhoods.

Residents who have, in times past, been isolated from community life will be invited in. For example, senior living will be integrated--not isolated--in places located so that residents can interact with the life of the street and with the whole wider community.

  DISCUSS



What are we missing?   What is YOUR vision?

You can suggest new vision items by submitting a comment using the form below. Other people will be able to vote for your idea and/or comment with suggested edits or questions. You are also welcome to email us your vision in whatever form you prefer (writing, drawing, poem, video, story, etc.)

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Posted by Angela Conte(Santa Rosa)

50-50 Greenspace

More integrated use of land where there are minimum requirements of green for every square footage of building, including the use of vertical landscaping of buildings. (We must build vertically to reduce our foot print, but this can still be balanced with equal square footage of greenery on and around the buildings themselves.)

We need to also rethink our protection of the environment by not limiting development entirely. We need to develop for people and the economy or we will stagnate and die, but we don't need to separate it all with green belts when we can integrate all development to protect the environment as we build smartly.

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