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Sustainability Taking the Spotlight – How the City of San José, CA is Using Sustainability to Embrace the Master Planning Process

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The City of San José (City), CA is one of the cities leading the sustainability movement in the United States. In August of 1994, the City Council adopted a general plan that included the “Sustainable City Major Strategy”. To further the City's sustainability efforts, in October of 2007, the City Council adopted San José's Green Vision, which includes achieving ten aggressive goals within 15 years.

Given the long, prolific, and leading edge efforts the City has and continues to undertake in its quest to be a sustainable city, it comes as no surprise that sustainability is playing a major role in the City's latest venture, developing the San José/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant (Plant) Master Plan (Master Plan). The City embarked upon the development of their Master Plan in early 2008. The Master Plan is intended to provide a framework and a road map for the Plant for the next 30 years and determine land uses for the Plant's lands. The Plant is uniquely located on 2,600 acres at the mouth of the two major watersheds in Santa Clara County that drain into the South San Francisco Bay, an important estuary.

As a consequence of the City's initiatives, sustainability is the foundation of the Master Plan because:

A. Sustainability is the policy direction of the City and tributary agencies to the Plant; and


B. the Plant and the Plant lands are a unique setting to deliver on the premise of sustainability.


To ensure that sustainability is thoroughly integrated in the Master Plan, goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria are one tool that is being used. This paper will discuss the process for incorporating these into the Master Plan.
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Keywords: Sustainability; alternatives evaluation; decision framework; evaluation criteria; master planning; public outreach; triple bottom line

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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