Newark’s city council recently voted to convert 200 acres, previously owned by chemical companies and have plans to parlay this acquisition to cut carbon emissions. City officials and planners want to develop what they call a post-suburban community, comprised of single-family homes in smaller lots, and multi-family homes with a more urban style of living, and acknowledge re-engineering the construct of society is crucial to combating climate change.
City planners envision an area with 2500 new townhouses and apartments built within walking distance to schools and stores. Residents will also have access to a train that will transport commuters to the Bay area, and would put commuters in the heart of Silicon Valley.
This will help the families, the economy, and the environment, since California gas prices average between $4 to $4.50 a gallon. Planners also acknowledge that even small cities have freeways that look like parking lots at rush hour, with the number of cars on the road contributing to ever increasing carbon emissions.
Currently, transportation accounts for approximately 40% of the state’s carbon output, while commercial and residential buildings account for 25%. This number will grow if the rate of construction continues on its current path. This new vision stems from California’s population explosion; the state population has doubled in four decades to 38 million and by 2050 may top 50 million.
Obviously, the development plan of the last 50 years is clearly not sustainable, and the paradigm must change if California hopes to address its population explosion and its plan to reduce carbon emissions.