Thursday, February 16, 2012

Food, Fitness and Democracy

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The Sustainable  Development  Report  

Issue No. 8 : February 2012 

ELP Advisors works with cities, agencies, stakeholders, foundations and business groups to craft strategies to grow thriving, healthy, vibrant communities. 

Change in Leadership for Housing & Community Development   


Cathy Creswell, head of the state's Housing and Community Development (HCD) agency left her post on February 14th. Ms. Creswell was with HCD for 25 years, and was

appointed Acting Director of the department in January of 2011. She notes that her time at HCD had given her the opportunity "to work with the most dedicated, compassionate, and talented professionals and advocates in the world."


Ms. Creswell will be succeeded by Linn Warren. Mr. Warren was formerly Program Director at the California Housing Finance Agency and served as Chief of Multifamily Lending from 1990 to 1995.

Human Infographic    

This is what happens when GOOD

attacks traffic: leagues of hip-looking young adults come together on the streets of downtown L.A. to show us how small actions can have a big impact.  


In a city where drivers spend 72 hours a year stuck in traffic, it's hard to believe that if just three percent of our drivers changed modes (bicycling, walking, transit), traffic would move 15 percent faster. For this, and other fun factoids, check out the video here.

Infill Development CEQA Overhaul    

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recently announced public workshops to solicit comments on

new CEQA regulations for infill development [PDF]. The proposed guidelines, part of the implementation of SB 226, would streamline the CEQA review process for infill projects, outlining new standards that will determine a project's eligibility for a speedier review. To see the proposals and review the new performance standard click here.


The workshops will be held on February 21st in Sacramento, February 22nd in Fresno, and February 23rd in Los Angeles.



UCLA Ziman Center's California's Urbanscape: A New Paradigm for Redevelopment in the 21st Century

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Los Angeles, CA


Edward R. Roybal Memorial Lecture on Aging in Place

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Los Angeles, CA 

-- Featuring Henry G. Cisneros, Executive Chairman of CityView


LA on the Verge of a Transit Breakthrough: Move LA's 4th Annual Transportation Conversation

Friday, February 24, 2012

8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Los Angeles, CA 


Complete Streets for California Conference 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012 

Los Angeles, CA 

8:00 a.m.   


Growth, Innovation, and the Accelerating Pace of Urban Life: Are 21st Century Cities Sustainable?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 

Los Angeles, CA    


ULI Urban Marketplace 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Los Angeles, CA

-- Featuring ELP's Cecilia Estolano 


California Water Policy Conference

March 8-9, 2012

Los Angeles, CA


Good Jobs Green Jobs Los Angeles Regional Conference

March 15-16, 2012

Los Angeles, CA 

ELP Logo  

 315 W. 9th Street, Suite 1010

 Los Angeles, CA 90015

 Phone: 213-612-4545

 Fax: 213-488-3468 


Food, Fitness and Democracy  

As we slowly recover from the traditional Valentine's Day chocolate hangover, we're thinking that if "food is love" then the growing movement around increasing access to fresh and healthy food is spreading a powerful message in some of our most underserved communities.


This month we're highlighting one of the most exciting strands in the sustainable economic development movement - the diverse and dynamic efforts to re-organize our relationship to food production, distribution and consumption in order "to reduce hunger, improve public health, increase equity in our communities, create good jobs, stimulate local economic activity, and foster environmental stewardship."


And as we're trying to make healthier food options available to more people, we think it only makes sense that we also try to invest more in the bicycle and pedestrian improvements that will ease traffic, increase fitness and make our communities more livable. We hope that when the dust clears on the federal transportation reauthorization bill, our spending priorities will have shifted to a more sustainable path.


Perhaps Congress might benefit from the kind of Participatory Budgeting exercise that cities across North America are using to engage taxpayers in deciding how to allocate scarce public dollars. Here's a vote for a new twist on democracy.


Sincerely yours,


Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine Aguilar Perez

Linking Health and Sustainability 

The fresh and local food movement is one of the most vibrant forces sweeping through urban communities in the U.S. From  urban farms in Detroit, green carts in New York, to North Carolina's 10 percent campaign, residents throughout the nation are being exposed to the benefits of locally sourced food. When coupled with a broader healthy communities agenda, the push for better access to fresh produce and locally produced food holds the promise of fundamentally transforming a multi-billion dollar industry. It also has the potential to drive demand for more sustainable communities.


Communities and policy makers alike are taking note of these trends, advocating for increased mobility options (public transit, walking, biking) and increasing access to healthy fruits and vegetables, particularly in historically underserved communities. Throughout California, a number of organizations are working on adopting healthy community strategies, receiving awards to transform communities, developing models for sustainable regional food systems, and increasing awareness among youth about the importance of leading healthy lifestyles.


Groups throughout the state are receiving funding to implement healthy communities strategies. The Mayor of Baldwin Park recently teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama and a number of funders, spearheaded by the California Endowment, to announce  FreshWorks. The $200-million program will "provide financing at or below market rates to encourage grocers to set up shop in underserved communities" throughout the state, according to the L.A. Times. Promoted, in part, as an economic development tool, the program is expected to create or retain 6,000 jobs in California and spur innovation in food retailing. As part of the program, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the first major investment: $20 million to bring "new grocery stores into City Heights, Inglewood and South Los Angeles."


In addition, the Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDH) received $9.8 million dollars from the Centers for Disease Control as part of the U.S. Health & Human Services Community Transformation Grants (CTG). LACDH will use the money to support existing community initiatives aimed at reducing tobacco use, improving nutrition and increasing physical activity. Grant recipients include the City of Baldwin Park, where funds will support youth-led efforts to ban junk food in Baldwin Park public schools, and finance "Healthy Selection" product aisles in existing businesses.


Baldwin Park is also part of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign. The organization works with municipalities throughout California to "help city officials adopt policies that improve their communities' physical activity and retail food environments." They are working with over 100 California cities to make recommendations on land use, healthy food, and employee wellness policies. Among their built environment recommendations, the organization urges cities to invest in projects that increase opportunities for physical activity, address walking and bicycling connectivity issues in their communities, and to include health goals and policies related to physical activity in general plan updates. The organization also invites cities to build incentives for development project proposals that demonstrate a "favorable impact on resident and employee physical activity."


Organizations in Los Angeles are promoting healthy community strategies to increase access to "good" food, promote physical activity, and to use local food sourcing as an economic development tool. In 2009, the City of Los Angeles created a Food Policy Council to increase the availability of fresh produce in the city and region-wide. Founding Chair of the Council, Paula Daniels notes that California leads the nation in agricultural imports, yet "very little of the food that is produced in the region is consumed in the urban core. Over one million L.A. County residents suffer from food insecurity." To address these issues, the Council envisions the re-invigoration of our local and regional food system - strengthening our network of small and mid-size growers and connecting them to end customers in Los Angeles.


You don't necessarily need to know what a Regional Food Hub is, or what exactly goes into conducting a foodshed assessment, or how to

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