Shared Strategies and Action
Smart Growth California is uniquely effective at fostering shared learning, networking, and aligned action among funders working at state, regional, and local levels, resulting in significant impacts on transportation and land use policies and programs in California.
Smart Growth California’s steering committee, which represents all of California’s major regions, identifies statewide strategic priorities working in partnership with nonprofit and community partners. Our current statewide priorities include: reducing greenhouse gas emissions; increasing affordable housing, public transit, and biking and walking infrastructure; preventing displacement; protecting open space and creating urban parks; supporting sustainable water management; increasing climate resilience; and building the capacity of social justice organizations throughout the state.
Smart Growth California funders use a range of strategies to support these priorities. These include driving policy change, increasing public funding, supporting the implementation of key state policies, building the capacity of community organizations and nonprofits, supporting regional and statewide networks, supporting community organizing and power-building, and increasing civic engagement.
As part of Smart Growth California’s statewide work, funders help support the successful implementation of a variety of landmark state policies, including:
- SB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Emissions Limit (signed in 2016). SB 32 expands and extends the state’s climate goals that were set out in AB 32, requiring California to reduce emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Signed with SB 32, AB 197 increases legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and requires CARB to prioritize emissions reductions from facilities such as refineries, which is intended to create more local benefits in polluted areas.
- AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and was the first program in the nation to take a long-term approach to addressing climate change. As part of the scoping plan developed by the California Air Resources Board to achieve the emissions reduction goal, a cap-and-trade program was established.
- SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. SB 375 supports California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals by requiring regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through land use and transportation planning that reduces sprawl, encourages transit-oriented development, and helps people drive less.
- SB 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. SB 350 requires California to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, while also doubling the energy efficiency of homes, offices and factories.
- SB 535, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (signed in 2012). SB 535 directs 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenues to projects that provide benefits to disadvantaged communities, and allocates a minimum of 10 percent of the revenues to projects located within disadvantaged communities. Note: AB 1550 (signed in 2016) increases the amount of cap-and-trade revenues that must be spent to benefit low-income communities to 35 percent.
- Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (includes SB 1168, AB 1739, and SB 1319). These bills provide a framework for long-term sustainable groundwater management across California, and for the first time in the state’s history empower local agencies to adopt groundwater management plans that are tailored to the resources and needs of their communities.
Together, these laws and other innovative state laws and programs create unprecedented policy opportunities to address climate change, advance health and equity, and improve the environment.