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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other
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200 Pine St., Ste. 400, San Francisco, CA 94104, phone (415) 445-8975, fax (415) 445-8974, email
Better Planning For Growth In California

Photo: Jackhammer Overview

CCRL engages regional and statewide leaders in the advancement of land use, housing and infrastructure investment policies that support region-based growth and development. Since 2001, CCRL has learned a host of lessons about improving growth planning policy at the regional and state level.

CCRL Land-Use and Infrastructure Goals 2005 – 2006

  • Increase the level of understanding among regional civic leaders about infrastructure and housing policy and investment in light of future population growth.
  • Strengthen the connections between state policymakers and regional leaders to foster more effective and efficient use of public resources.


A Permanent Source of Funding for Affordable Housing. Housing affordability indicators in California are falling to all-time lows as a result of the dramatic and sustained increase in the cost of market-rate and affordable housing in virtually every region of the state.  California’s decreasingly affordability rates are forcing Californians to pay higher and higher percentages of their income on housing; driving buyers, particularly first-time buyers, to the metropolitan edges, encouraging sprawl; limiting residents ability to move; and threatening California’s economic stability.

In response to this crisis, CCRL and the regional collaborative are working together to analyze the benefits of a permanent source of dedicated funding for state affordable housing subsidy.   A White Paper on this topic will be released in the Summer, 2005 followed by regional dialogues are scheduled throughout the next 18 months.

2004 - 2005:  PPIC 2025 Report. CCRL contributed to the PPIC’s long-term visioning piece centered around the critical question: “What kind of California do you want?” The report offers a longer-term perspective on a set of critical issues from population growth to education to transportation infrastructure to job opportunities.  In the process, it puts some of the states’ most controversial topics – such as term limits, Proposition 13, and the two-thirds supermajority for tax increases – on the table for discussion. 

The California Story.  CCRL co-sponsored a statewide convening on June 15, 2004 in Sacramento with the Surdna Foundation and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. Participants included two Cabinet Secretaries and two “smart growth” Legislators, state and regional leaders from the public and nonprofit sector, teams of representatives from four other states and thirteen representatives from ten foundations.  The event presented the current trends and challenges in land use; thirteen regional innovations in growth visioning, regional planning, and community-grounded demonstration projects; and possible new state policy initiatives.

CCRL convened five regional dialogues on AB 857 (Wiggins) to explore the regional perspective on state investments and land-use decisions aligning with three major interrelated planning priorities: Promote infill development and equity; Protect open space and working landscapes; Encourage compact and efficient development patterns. The statute mandates that all state projects in the Governor's Five Year Infrastructure Plan along with every related state agency functional plan be consistent with these priorities beginning in 2005.

CEQA Improvement. Governor Schwarzenegger initiated an extensive review of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to make changes to the law to improve the state’s ability to meet its housing development needs, while at the same time maintaining environmental protection. This review of CEQA has taken form in a state-level CEQA Improvement Advisory Group, led by the Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman, and including five other Cabinet members and a diverse array of stakeholders from the business, housing, local government, environmental and social justice communities. 

The Project was designed to work along two tracks.  The first track focuses on policy changes to removes barriers for housing, particularly infill housing (and other infill development) and resource conservation strategies.  It is intended that action be taken during the current legislative session. The second track will look at CEQA and infrastructure and comprehensive planning, and will extend through the end of 2005, with policy proposals to be ready for the 2006 legislative session.
CCRL facilitates the Advisory Group which was created to engage key stakeholders in crafting changes to CEQA. To solicit public input, CCRL organized a series of five Regional Dialogues around the state. See State Resources Agency link:

Economic Vitality Conversations.
Working in partnership with the Cabinet, led by Business, Transportation and (BT&H) Secretary Sunne McPeak, CCRL worked with regional partners to convene eleven regional Economic Vitality Conversations.  These Conversations have helped to position “growth” issues as vital to California’s economic success, especially, housing, transportation and comprehensive regional planning. Though supported from other sources, the EVC project is essential to advancing the Surda-supported CCRL effort to encourage leverage on growth issues by the Schwarzenegger Administration.

CCRL convened local and statewide forums through the California Policy Reform Network on infrastructure planning and reform issues. 

Member of the Environmental Goals and Policy Report Stakeholders Group (EGPR)

Convened Californians and the Land(1997 - 2000).

CCRL served as strategic advisors to Governor Davis’ Commission on Building for the 21sth Century (2000 – 2002).

Nick Bollman chaired Assemblymember Bob Hertzberg’s Commission on Regionalism (2001 – 2002).


CCRL and the California department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) are working together find a permanent source of dedicated funding for state affordable housing subsidy.

CCRL convened 5 regional CEQA Improvement Dialogues in April/May 2005 in partnership with the California Resources Agency and the Public Policy Institute of California.

On Feb 18, 2005 the California Institute for County Government (CICG) and CCRL co-convened a one day State-Local Fiscal Reform summit in Napa, California.

On June 15, 2004, CCRL was a co-convener of a national dialogue on growth planning, infrastructure investment, and land conservation in Sacramento. An electronic summary of the dialogue reveals that California is poised to become a national leader in Smart Growth policy
CCRL and the Bay Area Alliance held a Bay Area Infrastructure Dialogue (270 KB PDF) on May 18, 2004.

The March 2003 issue of the CalRegions newsletter outlines work that California's Regional Collaboratives and the California Policy Reform Network are doing to encourage public investment in infrastructure

CCRL convened five regional dialogues on the implementation of AB 857 as part of the process of developing the Environmental Goals and Policy Report in 2003.

The October 2003 issue of the CalRegions newsletter gives an overview of the opportunity presented by AB 857 and the five regional dialogues convened by CCRL.

Expanding Opportunity: New Resources to Meet California's Housing Needs
CEQA Reform: Issues and Options (Public Policy Institute of California)
The San Joaquin Valley: To Sprawl Or Not?
The text of AB 857
Initiatives in Transportation Funding &Finance - (USC Keston Institute for   Infrastructure) - Report and Recommendations to California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency
Smart Growth Network
Publications from the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism
Who Holds Responsibility for Infrastructure? New Regional Governments or Cities &Their Partners (Keston Infrastructure Institute)

UCR Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development
California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency
California Center for Land Recycling
California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC)
California Department of Housing and Community Development
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
California Resources Agency
California Infrastructure Coalition
Center for Governmental Studies
Center for Law in the Public Interest
Greenbelt Alliance
Governor's Office of Planning and Research
USC Keston Institute for Infrastructure
Legislative Smart Growth Caucus
Local Government Commission
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
New Schools Better Neighborhoods
Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Smart Growth America
Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) California
Transportation &Land Use Collaborative of Southern California
Urban Habitat
Urban Land Institute