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California Planning & Development Report

California Planning & Development Report

By Calif. Planning & Dev. Report

The podcast version of the California Planning & Development Report (, the leading independent source of news and analysis for the urban planning community in California. Covering policy, housing, transportation, finance, trends and more. Featuring Editor Bill Fulton, Contributing Editor Josh Stephens, and special guests.
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Top California Urban Planning Stories of 2020

California Planning & Development ReportDec 24, 2020

Rick Cole: From California to Congress for New Urbanism

Rick Cole: From California to Congress for New Urbanism

In the 1990s, Rick Cole presided over the update of Pasadena's general plan, which led to the development of one of the most recognizable transit-oriented developments in the United States (recognizable to planning nerds, at least): the Del Mar Transit Village on Los Angeles Metro's Gold Line. At the time, the city was a hotbed of New Urbanism thought, of which the Del Mar Transit Village was a prime example. Despite the high profile of New Urbanist ideas, and of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Del Mar remained a relatively isolated example of the ethos and the aesthetic.  In the ensuing decades, Cole moved on to serve as city manager in Azusa and Ventura (where he collaborated with CP&DR Publisher Bill Fulton), and in the past decade he served in the Los Angeles Mayor's Office and, most recently, as city manager in Santa Monica, from 2015 to 2020. The consummate Californian and longtime proponent of New Urbanist is now taking on a formal, national role, as the leader of the Congress for the New Urbanism itself. Cole official became CNU's executive director in May.  CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Cole about New Urbanism's influence on California, California's influence on it, and its prospects here and around the country now that it has gone from a radical upstart theory to a motivating force among many progressive planners, designers, and developers. 
Jul 05, 202131:22
Single-Family Zoning Upheaval & Pending Legislation

Single-Family Zoning Upheaval & Pending Legislation

A wave of cities throughout California, including Sacramento, Berkeley, and Oakland, have pledged to do away with single-unit zoning and permit duplexes by-right. It's a seemingly simple principle, but a potentially vast planning challenge. Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discuss this latest trend in planning and what it means for cities that have already adopted it and for cities that might be considering it. 

Meanwhile, the legislature is considering a raft of land-use bills that are as diverse as they are numerous. Bill and Josh take a look at some of the highlights. 

Apr 12, 202129:60
L.A. Planner-Councilmember Nithya Raman

L.A. Planner-Councilmember Nithya Raman

Elected to the Los Angeles City Council in November, Nithya Raman ran on an explicitly urbanist platform. Her slogan: "Nithya for the city." Raman had previously worked in the City Administrator's Office analyzing funding for homelessness initiatives and, more recently, led a nonprofit that advocates for women in the entertainment industry. Initially, though, Raman arrived at public service via urban planning. She earned her master's in urban planning from MIT and spend several years working her in native India, advocating for impoverished populations in Delhi and Chennai. 

Raman's council district, District 4, spans both sides of the Hollywood Hills, including wealthy, homeowner-dominated neighborhoods like Larchmont Village and Sherman Oaks as well as denser, lower-income neighborhoods like Van Nuys and Hollywood. Raman's city council platform includes several planks related to progressive land use and attention to disadvantaged populations, including rent forgiveness, subsidized housing, and vastly increased services and housing options for unhoused people. Raman is the second urban planner to serve on the Los Angeles City Council and the first to serve since Ed Reyes was termed out in 2013. In unseating former councilmember David Ryu, Raman became the first challenger to win a council seat in 17 years. 

CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Raman on February 18. 

Mar 04, 202126:23
Top California Urban Planning Stories of 2020
Dec 24, 202036:09
Top Planning Books of 2020

Top Planning Books of 2020 recently came out with its annual list of the Top Urban Planning Books of 2020, including contributions from CP&DR's Josh Stephens. The books cover timeless topics like housing and the history of planning as well as vital issues that have received increased attention of late, including those of social justice, race, and gender. 

Bill Fulton spoke with Josh and Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell about this year's list and how it reflects the present and future of urban planning. 

Dec 11, 202039:10
October 12, 2020: Diana Lind & "Brave New Home"

October 12, 2020: Diana Lind & "Brave New Home"

In Diana Lind's new book Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing,  Lind shows why a country full of single-family houses is bad for people and the planet, and details the new efforts underway that better reflect the way we live now, to ensure that the way we live next is both less lonely and more affordable. Lind explores the homes and communities that are seeking alternatives to the American norm, from multi-generational living, in-law suites, and co-living to microapartments, tiny houses, and new rural communities. Brave New Home offers a diagnosis of the current crisis in American housing and a radical re-imagining of the possibilities of housing.

Based in Philadelphia, Lind was editor in chief, and later executive director, of Next City, a leading urbanist website and nonprofit.  She currently leads the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia, where her work fosters an exchange between the creative and business communities. 

CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Lind about how Brave New Home can help planners anticipate, and promote, innovative approaches to housing. 

Oct 11, 202029:45
Cal APA "Big Conversations": Anna Nelson on Minneapolis Zoning Revolution

Cal APA "Big Conversations": Anna Nelson on Minneapolis Zoning Revolution

In December, the City of Minneapolis did the unthinkable: as part of its Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, it eliminated single-unit zoning throughout the entire city. Now, any lot that currently includes a single home can be redeveloped as a duplex, triplex, or four-plex. While Minneapolis's housing crisis -- like its population -- is diminutive compared to that of California, the housing pressures are real, and planners and advocates believe that limiting the dominance of single-unit lots is an important step toward affordability and equity. 

One of the leading advocacy groups supporting Minneapolis 2040, and especially its loosening of zoning restrictions, was Neighbors for More Neighbors. Somewhat, though not entirely, affiliated with the YIMBY movement that has arisen in many housing-constrained cities, Neighbors for More Neighbors is a grassroots housing advocacy group that takes Minnesota's famed neighborliness seriously and literally. As California struggles with its housing crisis -- and considers many local and statewide efforts to loosen zoning -- the California Chapter of the American Planning Association invited Anna Nelson, one of MN4N's volunteer leaders, to speak at its virtual statewide conference, to be held Sept. 14-16 on the internet. 

CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Nelson about what the planners in California can learn from Minnesota. 

Editor's Note: The recording erroneously says Nelson will speak Wednesday at the APA Conference. She will speak Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Sep 07, 202026:58
August 4, 2020: Black Planners Roundtable

August 4, 2020: Black Planners Roundtable

The death of George Floyd and the strengthened, nationwide interest in the Black Lives Matter movement has naturally and crucially highlighted urban inequities. Issues including segregation, economic disparities, environmental justice, housing justice, and a great many others fall within the purview of urban planning. Planners face, more so now than ever before, the opportunity not only to promote equity but also to correct historic injustices--especially those that marginalize and disadvantage Black Americans. The fulfillment of these goals of course involves Black planners. And it calls upon planners of all backgrounds to support the Black community.  

CP&DR welcomes a panel of Black planners to share their personal perspectives on the current historical moment and on the future of planning in the era of Black Lives Matter.  


Courtney Brown, Planning Associate, Michael Baker International 

Warren Logan, Policy Director of Mobility and Inter Agency Relations, City of Oakland 

Eric Shaw, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, City & County of San Francisco 


Bill Fulton, Publisher & Editor, CP&DR 

Josh Stephens, Contributing Editor, CP&DR 

Editor's note: Linda Tatum, asst. city manager with the City of Long Beach, was scheduled to participate but had an unexpected conflict. 

Aug 04, 202055:20
July 20, 2020: Rex Richardson, SCAG President

July 20, 2020: Rex Richardson, SCAG President

Immediately upon his election to the presidency of the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments in June, Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson proposed a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis and, therefore, a top priority for SCAG. The resolution was adopted nearly unanimously, setting the tone for an agenda focused on equity and social justice. 

Jul 20, 202026:15
July 13, 2020: Alicia John-Baptiste, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research

July 13, 2020: Alicia John-Baptiste, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research

CP&DR’s Josh Stephens speaks with Alicia Johns-Baptiste, the new director of Bay Area land use think tank San Francisco Planning & Urban Research. This interview was conducted May 23, 2020.

Jul 13, 202022:43
June 8, 2020: What is The Urban Mystique?

June 8, 2020: What is The Urban Mystique?

Planners often focus on the minutiae of their cities. But cities are greater than the sum of their parts. 

CP&DR Editor Bill Fulton speaks with Contributing Editor Josh Stephens about his new book, The Urban Mystique: Notes on California, Los Angeles, and Beyond. It's a look at the human side of urban planning and at what's great, and not-so-great, about the built environment that Californians have dealt themselves. 

Recorded May 29, 2020.

Jun 08, 202029:58
May 28, 2020: Julia Lave Johnston, President, American Planning Assoc., California Chapter

May 28, 2020: Julia Lave Johnston, President, American Planning Assoc., California Chapter

Josh Stephens speaks with California APA President Julia Lave Johnston about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the planning profession.
May 28, 202021:40
CP&DR Podcast May 13, 2020: Senate Bill 35; Horton Plaza; Telecommuting; Online Meetings; Interview with Meg Walker, Project for Public Spaces
May 14, 202033:55
CP&DR Podcast April 14, 2020: Housing Crash, Planning Budgets, Legal Update

CP&DR Podcast April 14, 2020: Housing Crash, Planning Budgets, Legal Update

Volume 1, Episode 2 of the CP&DR podcast features Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discussing the impending housing crash caused by the COVID19 economic shutdown, the fiscal pain that planning departments will feel as local revenues dry up, and a few court cases related to the California Environmental Quality Act.

Apr 14, 202026:44
CP&DR Podcast: Mar. 26, 2020: Coronavirus; SB 50; Future of California Housing
Mar 26, 202028:11