UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will serve as the lead for the center, which will be a multi-campus effort that includes UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Adjunct Professor Stephanie Pincetl, director of the Institute's Center for Sustainable Urban Systems, spearheaded the project.
The proposed California Center for Sustainable Communities would research the potential energy savings from better community design, integrated land use, and transportation practices. The center would conduct and coordinate research and development activities on sustainable communities, serving as a statewide resource for metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and policy makers. It would provide data, models, methods, tools, and case studies to support the creation of more sustainable communities and assist in developing regional land use strategies. Reducing the use of automobiles and trucks and vehicle miles traveled will cut greenhouse gas emissions. Better land use planning and design of community systems would increase the overall energy sustainability of cities.
"California is investing research dollars into projects that better equip California for the needs of the 21st century and will help prepare workers for the demands of a changing workforce," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.
Funding for this project comes from the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. PIER supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace.