Archive: Apr 2014

  1. Crafty Investments for Equity

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    This month we look at how new approaches to investments made today can yield positive results well into the future. Whether it’s housing, industrial preservation, cap-and-trade, or urban forestry, creative financing strategies are allowing local governments and organizations to invest in programs and policies that help build better communities. In affordable housing, the funding reality is dire, but alternative financing structures have managed to attract private capital in spite of the extraordinary scarcity of public funds.  Similarly, as economic development funding wanes, cities may want to take a closer look at the Brooklyn Navy Yard model as a way to preserve and grow their manufacturing base. Likewise, cap-and-trade is the most promising investment source for California, so thinking through how to we address equity considerations is essential. And the trend towards measuring our urban forests by measuring tree canopies bodes well for achieving climate change mitigation goals. Spring has arrived with hope and growth in the air, and these stories give us a flavor of how to make lemons out of lemonade. But it doesn’t negate the need to confront the vexing and difficult issues that require meaningful public policy and sustained funding. California took the lead in creating cap-and-trade to address climate change and now we are about to reap the benefits. It’s time we did the same on the perpetual problem of housing and economic development.

    Sincerely yours,

    Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

  2. Alternative Models for Maintaining Affordability


    The creation and maintenance of affordable housing has become more and more difficult to finance, especially in California. The demise of redevelopment agencies eliminated a significant source of funding, and the Great Recession has left many municipalities bereft of funds to finance low- and moderate-income housing. In the absence of government funding, private capital is beginning to fill the void. (more…)

  3. Beyond a Million Trees

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    One of the things that makes a street great is the presence of street trees. And in park poor LA, the threat of removing mature street trees to repair sidewalks, save infrastructure, make way for transit, or haul a decommissioned spacecraft through town, is often met with protests. While tree removals are sometimes necessary, it presents an opportunity for local governments to demonstrate their commitment to increasing the urban canopy and may provide local workforce development opportunities. (more…)