Urgent Climate Action
We recognize transformational change is required to address the urgent climate crisis. The international scientific consensus is that rapid, deep emissions cuts are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We choose to focus on promoting actions that help build healthy cities, like sustainable transportation, building electrification and decarbonization, reducing waste, and eliminating sources of urban air pollution, although we support other actions consistent with transformative climate action. With climate change in progress, new buildings need to be resilient to the growing risks of fire, floods, and heat waves. Buildings designed for climate resiliency can also help reduce emissions and better withstand earthquakes. Resilient, all-electric, multifamily housing near transit can serve as a centerpiece of a “Green New Deal.” We believe climate action is more likely to succeed when focused on a positive, equitable, human-centered vision that highlights the benefits of sustainable communities.
Equity and Environmental Justice
We support the work of our allies seeking environmental justice, who set their own agendas and hold decision-making power, and we must work to reverse the historical inequities of exclusionary zoning and redlining. Communities of color and low income continue to be forced to directly bear the brunt of environmental pollution and disinvestment: these communities and their residents should benefit from new investment and the reduction or elimination of local sources of pollution. We decry the shameful history of racism and exclusionary motivations in parts of the environmental movement, particularly efforts to restrict immigration or coercively control population. We advocate for measuring local and regional progress towards climate goals per capita, so that accommodating more people does not count as increasing emissions. We discourage community meeting formats that amplify privileged, exclusionary voices; instead, we support broad and representative community input in local decision-making that is focused on systemic objectives.
Healthy Urban Environments
We support public open and green space which encourages social interaction, including across race and income groups. Living in dense urban environments should not mean isolation from nature or exposure to pollution. We favor accessible, shared greenspace rather than requiring space to be reserved for private yards and car storage. We support relaxing height limits and setback requirements to make room for shared space, from corner playgrounds to apartment courtyards to accessible parkland. Providing shared space complements mixed-use zoning and reduction of car-dependence to enable complete communities with access to outdoor recreation, healthy food, and clean air.