Community Environment Issue
The Bay Area is a designated region in Northern California that contains popular cities such as San Francisco and San Jose, which are well known in the global community as breeding grounds for some of the greatest innovations. With the Bay Area being one of the most productive and populated places in California and even the United States, most of its residents work in these cities and are constantly struggling to afford housing closer to their jobs.
Currently the residents of the Bay Area are finding themselves spending more than half of their salaries on housing costs when they choose to live in housing closer to their jobs. Many attempt to seek housing further from their jobs which is significantly lower than housing closer to the Bay Area. However, with the increased distance between work and home, the residents are spending the difference (in not more); they are saving in cheaper housing, in transportation costs.
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Basically the further away the house, the cheaper but higher transportation costs, which means people are spending more in gas for their vehicles and in turn emitting more smog. Whereas, people with housing in close proximity to the Bay Area often life in transient friendly neighborhoods where they can take a bus or train to work, thus reducing the smog impact on the environment. Housing that is closer to the Bay Area has some of the highest costs of living in the United States.
People with lower income jobs often find themselves short of money each month because they cannot gain an advantage in reducing costs whether they live closer or further from the Bay Area. A household living in the Bay Area spends on average $28,045 in housing costs and $13,375 in transportation costs. A household in Napa, California (further from the Bay Area) spends on average $26,898 in housing costs and $14,342 in transportation costs. Residents in Napa spend less in housing costs but spend $967 more a year in transportation costs (based on the averages given above).
The burden the Bay Area is facing is finding the funding and land to produce environmentally friendly and stable neighborhoods to reduce the impact on the environment from the already countless numbers of automobiles being used by commuters. The Bay Area also wants to make the housing affordable to people who fall below the median income level, $75,103. The Bay Area is expecting to grow by 1. 6 million residents over the next 25 years and sees the opportunity to encourage new policies for land, housing and transportation to urge the development of housing in areas where transient is available.
The Obama Administration, the state of California and the Bay Area have already introduced policies to help increase the development of transit oriented housing for residents. The Metropolitan Trade Commission (MTC) has encouraged development for housing in planned transient areas and also provides small time developments such as walkways, bikeways and pedestrian crosswalks for commuters. Proposition 1C was signed to provide $1 Billion dollars in state housing development bonds for transient oriented housing.
It’s reported that one half of the housing that is supposed to be built will be made affordable to residents who make 80 percent or less of the median income. Senate Bill 375 was passed in 2008 to make MTC coordinate housing, land use, and transportation plans to lower the carbon dioxide emissions and develop the housing to be more transient friendly for residents. A regional joint committee joined the effort by identifying 60 areas within the Bay Area which could be used to plan or have potential use to develop transit oriented housing.
Though, the designated areas only make up three percent of the total land mass of the Bay Area, the committee is convinced the designated land could provide housing for at least half of Bay Area’s projected housing and population growth. The Bay Area is already a land mass which is almost 100 percent occupied by streets, buildings and houses. It’s not a secret the Bay Area has a large carbon footprint on the environment with its millions of residents and multiple industrial areas. The Bay Area’s main goal aside from developing transit oriented housing is to provide a suitable environment for its future generations.
One of the main tasks to ensure it happens is to reduce the pollution being placed in the atmosphere by building environmentally friendly buildings, transit systems, and vehicles. As well as reducing lower standard living by making the new transit oriented houses more affordable for families with lower income ranges. The Bay Area will see itself as a major producing city; grow into a global leading city once it makes itself more affordable for its residents to get to work and environmentally safer for people to live longer lives as well as the environment.
Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing (2009). Bay Area Burden. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute. Berg, L. R., Hager, M. C., & Hassenzahl, D. M. (2011). Visualizing environmental science (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons in collaboration with the National Geographic Society.