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Oakland: Planning for the Next Century
Alex Steffen, 9 Aug 04

My old home town, Oakland, California, ought to lead the world in transforming itself into a model of urban sustainability, says Rainforest Action Network founder Randy Hayes. And to get there, Hayes and Mayor Jerry Brown are developing a 100-year action plan to get there:

"As Mayor Jerry Brown's sustainability director, Hayes envisions an Oakland that recycles all of its trash by 2020, is fully powered by alternative energy by 2030 and has drastically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Those are the short-term goals in a century-long time line Hayes is drafting for the city. Already, he is working to get developers to install solar power and taxi drivers to use hydrogen fuel. ...

"'2004 is the first year more people live in cities than in rural areas around the world,' Hayes said. 'Cities are the place to deliver the solutions.'"

Having lived last year in Oakland, I can vouch for the massive nature of the challenges a plan like this faces. That said, Oakland is making real progress, and, like many once-declining central cities, is seeing something of a Renaissance. It may just have the chutzpah to pull off something like this. And, above all, it's incredibly encouraging to see any local government planning for the long term and trying to take actions whose benefits may not reveal themselves fully for decades. Bravo, Oaktown!

(Big shout out to Paul for the lead!)

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