The Sustainable City pLAn of Los Angeles

City Hall viewed from Grand Park
City Hall viewed from Grand Park | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority

The Sustainable City pLAn is a roadmap for a Los Angeles that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all - now and over the next 20 years. The pLAn focuses on both short-term results and long term goals that will transform our city.

L.A.’s first-ever Sustainable City pLAn connects the dots for Los Angeles by building on the three legs of the stool needed for any thriving city: Environment, Economy and Equity.

In his introduction to the pLAn, Mayor Eric Garcetti writes: “This is our moment to come together and transform Los Angeles. That’s why I am excited to present to you this Sustainable City pLAn. This pLAn is a comprehensive and actionable directive that will produce meaningful results for today’s Angelenos while setting us on the path to strengthen and transform our city in the decades to come. It is important to emphasize that the pLAn is not just an environmental vision - by addressing the environment, economy, and equity together, we will move toward a truly sustainable future.”

Read on for highlights of the Sustainable City pLAn, featuring short term (by 2017) and longer term (by 2025 and 2035) targets in 14 categories that will advance our environment, economy and equity. For more information and to download a PDF of the complete pLAn, visit plan.lamayor.org.

ENVIRONMENT

Solar panels at the Los Angeles Convention Center
Panneaux solaires au LACC | Crédit photo du Los Angeles Convention Center, Facebook

Protecting L.A.’s environment ensures that we harness our natural resources efficiently and effectively, while providing a clean, healthy and safe city for present and future generations of Angelenos.

Local Water - Sustainable City pLAn
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Local Water
Los Angeles is facing a “new normal” of a persistent drought — California is now in its fourth straight year of severe drought. Capturing and cleaning storm water helps to significantly reduce our dependency on imported water, prepares us to bounce back from possible disasters, and keeps our rivers and beaches clean, usable, and thriving with wildlife. These provisions ensure a strong future for our growing economy. L.A. has long been — and continues to be — a leader in water conservation, with Mayor Garcetti’s recent Executive Directive #5 setting a goal of a 20% reduction in water use per capita by 2017.

Local Solar - Sustainable City pLAn
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Local Solar Power
Production of electricity from fossil fuels creates pollution, including smog and greenhouse gas emissions. Combining the abundance of sunshine our city enjoys with the advantage of owning our own municipal utility, Los Angeles’s investment in solar is generating clean power, reducing pollution, and improving grid reliability. Solar energy installed in Los Angeles creates local green jobs for Angelenos, helps drive innovation, and - when combined with backup battery storage - helps keep the city moving in the event of a disaster. L.A. has become a leader in solar through the feed in tariff and net metering programs, and will become an increasing national and global leader moving forward.

Energy Efficient Buildings - Sustainable City pLAn
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Energy Efficient Buildings
Buildings are the largest consumers of electricity in the city and a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Smart, cost-effective retrofits will benefit our buildings for decades, create local green jobs, and lower energy bills. Energy-efficient buildings also reduce L.A.’s contribution to global warming and create healthier, more comfortable spaces. Our city’s mild climate enables us to be a national leader in reducing energy consumption and make our buildings more efficient. L.A.’s vision is to significantly reduce energy consumption per square foot across all building types in the city.

Carbon & Climate Leadership - Sustainable City pLAn
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Carbon & Climate Leadership
Climate change is considered by many experts to be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and it will bring dramatic challenges to Los Angeles in the coming years, including wide-ranging effects on the health and welfare of Angelenos. As the largest city in a state that is taking the most ambitious and aggressive action on climate change, L.A. is poised to establish itself as the national leader in carbon reduction and climate change action, and in doing so catalyzing clean energy industry and creating new green jobs. Los Angeles is currently reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the elimination of coal in our energy mix, prioritizing energy efficiency, and inspiring other cities across the US to take similar action.

Waste & Landfills - Sustainable City pLAn
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Waste & Landfills
Every household and business in the city generates waste, and our local landfills are filling up. By managing our waste in a smarter way through recycling and reusing materials such as packaging, food waste, and old electronics, we can turn this problem into an opportunity. Embracing resource recovery will provide opportunities for Los Angeles to use new technologies and methods, propelling us toward a cradle-to-cradle future, where most waste is ultimately reused locally rather than exported elsewhere. Recovering materials from the waste stream and reusing them locally will decrease our need for diminishing resources and stimulate green-job growth.

 

ECONOMY

Bikes and Hikes L.A. in a Day tour
L.A. in a Day | Photo courtesy of Bikes and Hikes LA, Facebook

Strengthening the economy of L.A. ensures we can satisfy our basic needs for housing, jobs, mobility and resiliency.

Housing & Development - Sustainable City pLAn
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Housing & Development
The availability and affordability of housing are among the most visible and important economic issues facing Angelenos today. They’re also critical elements to a strong and thriving Los Angeles. The pLAn and its strategic initiatives aim to ease housing costs, lower utility bills, promote appropriate development, encourage housing around transit hubs, and increase the production and preservation of affordable housing. These steps will allow Los Angeles to properly serve all individuals and families, while improving total housing affordability in L.A. and preventing the loss of existing affordable housing.

Mobility & Transit - Sustainable City pLAn
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Mobility & Transit
Traffic and difficulty in moving around the city are an unfortunate part of Los Angeles’s image and reality. Traffic also presents a significant economic challenge and quality of life impact. As L.A. expects to add another 500,000 residents over the next 20 years, it is critical that the city provides more options for Angelenos to move around and get to where they need to go. We will focus on public transit, bicycling, walking, and locating Angelenos’ residences near transit and the places they would want to travel.

Prosperity & Green Jobs - Sustainable City pLAn
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Prosperity & Green Jobs
The economic power of individual workers and the green business sector are key components of a sustainable city’s strength and vitality. Developing prosperity through green jobs can drive triple bottom-line returns that achieve economic success, improve equity, and strengthen the environment. Opportunities include: increasing the number of green jobs through water and energy efficiency, transit growth, and improving our national and global competitiveness in the clean tech sector.

Preparedness & Resiliency - Sustainable City pLAn
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Preparedness & Resiliency
We must prepare Los Angeles for future earthquakes and increasing climate disruptions facing our city, including bigger wildfires, longer and hotter heatwaves, and rising sea levels. Whether in the form of distributed water solutions to help increase local water supplies and fight fires post-earthquake, or the integration of grid-tied solar powered backup systems to keep fire stations running, it is immediately necessary to have proactive solutions to prepare the city.

 

EQUITY

Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park | Photo courtesy of 45SURF, Flickr

Building equity in our city ensures all Angelenos have access to healthy, livable neighborhoods. It also strengthens a sense of collective ownership of our common future.

Air Quality - Sustainable City pLAn
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Air Quality
Los Angeles has made great strides in improving its air quality since the 1970’s, yet more work is required to protect public health and improve our air. Mobile sources (trucks, ships, aircraft, and personal vehicles) emit 90% of the region’s air pollutants. A key piece of the solution will be Los Angeles facilitating the transition to low and zero-emissions transportation primarily though electric vehicles (EVs). We will strive to eliminate non-attainment days (air pollutants exceed federal standards) by making EV use more convenient and practical, and by shifting commercial goods movement to lower or zero-emissions technologies.

Environmental Justice - Sustainable City pLAn
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Environmental Justice
Underserved, low-income individuals and communities often bear the burden of environmental pollution, health impacts and economic health challenges, and therefore need and deserve specific improvements and investments. All Angelenos have the right to health and opportunity in our city. Improving air quality and neighborhood conditions helps ensure that no Angeleno becomes or remains marginalized. The pLAn also addresses food deserts and takes steps to deliver benefits from the green economy to all Angelenos.

Urban Ecosystem - Sustainable City pLAn
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Urban Ecosystem
Research has shown that access to nature makes people mentally and physically healthier. L.A.’s natural lands - our own “wild places” - and parks improve environmental quality and increase the economic, physical, and social health of the City’s communities. Focusing our efforts to revitalize urban ecosystems, we help prioritize the City’s efforts to increase access to outdoor space and develop the richness of those spaces in terms of quality services, diverse ecosystems and urban agriculture.

Livable Neighborhoods - Sustainable City pLAn
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Livable Neighborhoods
Neighborhoods are more than simply places where people reside. Neighborhoods are a great source of pride and self-identification. The pLAn and its strategic initiatives help create the conditions for neighborhoods to thrive, such as building great streets that serve as local destinations, providing safe transit, access to services, and creating opportunities for engagement and the formation of strong community bonds.

 

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Lead by Example - Sustainable City pLAn
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The City of Los Angeles has long been a leader on environmental, economic, and social equity issues.

When the City leads by example on sustainability performance, it inspires both Angelenos and the nation to take action. Opportunities for City leadership include increasing resource efficiency, achieving a high STAR rating (i.e., a community sustainability rating system), and influencing other cities in the region to act on sustainability and climate change.