June 25, 2013, California Progress Report
In recent weeks a broad array of progressives has rallied opposition to Plan Bay Area, a state-mandated proposal to reduce the region’s carbon emissions and still accommodate massive increases in jobs and population by encouraging dense infill development close to transit, i.e Smart Growth. Drafted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Plan Bay Area claims to “be taking equity into account.” However, the plan’s own assessment concedes that its implementation “could result in residential or business disruption or displacement of substantial numbers of existing population and housing,” and that those who cannot pay the “higher prices resulting from increased demand” for new housing and commercial space will be forced out.
So far, progressive critics have focused on residential displacement. But inflated land values also threaten low-rent business, including small and medium-sized industrial firms and the well-paying middle-income jobs they provide. Those who care about equity and, for that matter, about the environment, should be concerned about the vulnerability of the region’s industrial enterprise and employment.