Sustainable City pLAn - Los Angeles, California

City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released the Sustainable City pLAn to provide a roadmap for a Los Angeles that is “environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all.” The pLAn is a guide to sustainability policies and actions for all City departments, now and over the next 20 years. A complimentary pLAn website was developed to share the document itself and the vision behind it, as well as to present information on each of the City’s sustainability goals. A dashboard of sustainability metrics related to the nearest-term goals identified in the pLAn is provided on the site. This dashboard is meant to transparently measure progress and share how LA is doing to meet these goals - both through city operations, and collectively within the community.

The pLAn is organized in three sections: Environment, Economy, and Equity. Within this framework, there are 14 topic chapters: Environment includes Local Water, Local Solar Power, Energy-Efficient Buildings, Carbon & Climate Leadership, Waste & Landfills; Economy includes Housing & Development, Mobility & Transit, Prosperity & Green Jobs, Preparedness & Resiliency; and Equity includes Air Quality, Environmental Justice, Urban Ecosystem, Livable Neighborhoods, and “Lead by Example.”

The pLAn's section on equity describes the City's vision to improve air quality by supporting expansion of zero-emission vehicles, enhancing EV charging stations on public property, modifying Green Building Ordinances to require EV 

charging, greening the City's fleet, and implementing measures to reduce air pollution for freight, ports, and airports.

On the topic of Environmental Justice, the pLAn acknowledges that "underserved, and 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."  The pLAn articulates goals of reducing asthma-related emergency room visits and decreasing the distance to healthy, fresh food.

The pLAn also articulates goals of increasing access to parks, green space, and urban agriculture. To do so, the City will restore the LA river and enhance public access, expand the number of parks and green infrastructure projects, document the City's urban forest and develop a plan to direct new plantings in areas with most need, and convert open lots for urban agriculture and gardening.  

 

Actions related to water conservation include: creating a Water Cabinet, developing a comprehensive city water strategy, expanding water recycling, increasing education and outreach to residents and businesses, using water and wastewater rates to encourage conservation, retrofitting buildings with water conserving fixtures, expanding the use of permeable pavements, and expanding the number of green infrastructure projects, among other initiatives.

To expand local power, the pLAn calls for the City to: continue its Solar Incentive Program, expand affordable housing solar for low-income customers, start a community solar program, expand solar ready new construction, pilot energy storage projects including battery storage and microgrid projects, streamline permitting for residential energy-storage projects, pilot backup power projects at critical facilities, andcreate smart-grids to prepare for large-scale adoption of electric vehicles, among other projects and initiatives.

The pLAn also calls for energy efficiency actions, including: creating benchmarking policy to monitor and disclose building energy use, expanding access to PACE funding, implementing energy efficiency retrofits in affordable housing, and creating a municipal green-building standard for new construction.

To enhance the City's preparedness and resilience, the pLAn recommends that the City: encourage residential water storage, enhance and increase the resilience of the electrical grid, develop plan for post-disaster recovery, improve the seismic resiliency of the LA aqueduct, implement residential backup power systems, and reduce urban heat islands with street trees and cool roofs, among other actions.

The pLAn also recommends that the City increase affordable housing around transit; enhance transit connections to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure; and expand opportunities for green jobs.

For each topic, the plan lays out:

  • Vision (presenting ambitious vision for the topic that can be acheived in the next 20 years for Los Angeles); 
  • Near-Term Outcomes ( measurable, quantitative deliverables to create tangible results by 2017);
  • Long-Term Outcomes (measurable, quantitative, and time-bounded outcomes by 2025 and 2035);
  • Baseline Information and Data Sources (the starting point and date for measuring outcomes and data sources used to track progress);
  • Strategies (groups or categories of initiatives that can be implemented to achieve the outcomes); and
  • Priority Initiatives (Specific, actionable initiatives the pLAn will use to achieve near and long-term outcomes).

The City is incorporating sustainability measures into each of the City’s 35 departments and bureaus, from airports to police to water and power. Accordingly, one of the initial action steps within the pLAn is the appointment of a Chief Sustainability Officer within 18 key departments in Los Angeles.

Going forward, reviews of City department General Managers will incorporate whether they are meeting the goals of the pLAn. The outcomes in the pLAn that require additional funding will receive priority in the Mayor’s annual budget process. Departments will report regularly on their progress, and any challenges they face in implementing the initiatives that the pLAn prioritizes. In addition, an evaluation process will be implemented every year along with annual progress reports.

 

Publication Date: April 8, 2015

Related Organizations:

  • City of Los Angeles, California

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