Press Release

Speaker series on California climate change challenges

| 26 February 2009

A new speaker series at the University of California, Berkeley, will explore the state's landmark climate control legislation's critical connections to sustainable development and land-use planning.

The series, "Growing Sustainability in a Low-Carbon World," is being sponsored by UC Berkeley's Institute for Urban and Regional Development (IURD). It will bring together local, regional and state decision-makers, scholars, researchers, environmentalists, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders from the public sector.

The program, free and open to the public, will take place on campus on Tuesdays, starting March 17, before jumping to March 31 and continuing through May 5. The first event will take place from 6-8 p.m. at The Faculty Club; other programs will be held from 5:15 to 7 p.m. in Wurster Hall. Each seminar will be moderated by a UC Berkeley faculty member or research associate.

Much of the discussions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state have focused on technologies, clean fuels and green jobs, which have important roles to play, said Robert Cervero, interim director of IURD and a professor of city and regional planning.

However, IURD's series will zoom in on more technical and quite critical aspects of planning for low-carbon cities - such as modeling and simulating urban futures, pursuing environmental sustainability and economic development, modeling the travel-demand impacts of alternative urban designs, and implementing "smart-growth" ideas.

The first session will look at the promises and challenges of California's climate control legislation, including achieving Assembly Bill 32's substantial greenhouse gas reduction targets in the midst of a recession, finding funding sources for planning agencies that are compelled by Senate Bill 375 to make planning choices that reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, how to use infill development and taking advantage of new high-speed rail opportunities.

Cutting-edge architect and planner Peter Calthorpe will participate in the April 21 program on sustainable regional growth in California. Calthorpe, who has taught at UC Berkeley, is co-author of "The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl" (2000).

Issues to be addressed at other seminars will include:

  • Integrated transportation and land-use modeling
  • SB 375: Will it work?
  • Sustainable growth and affordable housing
  • Best practices in local climate action plans
  • Local and regional planning challenges

More information about the series and about IURD is online at: http://iurd.berkeley.edu/.

"We will monitor the series for common themes and unanswered questions that could provide fertile ground for follow-up research - with an eye toward possibly creating a new center within IURD that would be devoted to smart-growth/climate-change policies and planning," said Cervero.