Urban Ecology’s award-winning Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area is a vision for the future of the Bay Area. Published in December 1996 and winner of nine local and national awards, it examines land use and sustainability at within the home, in our neighborhoods, at the scale of our cities, and for the full region. The San Francisco Bay Area, long blessed with beauty, diversity of climate, and a colorful culture and history, is at a pivotal point. Because of current patterns of land use planning and development, the region is losing the special qualities that have made it a desirable place to live and work for generations. Building on our 25 years of education and advocacy for land use alternatives, Urban Ecology set out to create a vision for the region.

The Blueprint examines topics of local and regional concern: the greenbelt, the San Francisco Bay, Delta, and Estuary; the connection between transportation and land use; old-economy and new-economy jobs; materials, water and energy conservation; and regional planning and revenue sharing. The book is full of recommendations for local action, and illustrates each topic with case studies-examples in which local communities are taking steps toward long-term sustainability.

In creating the Blueprint, Urban Ecology reached out to community-based and environmental organizations; representatives of local, regional, state, and federal government; and the business and academic communities to define the issues and articulate ways to realize a sustainable Bay Area. Ten “vision forums” were organized around the main topics of the book. Forty advisors with a range of expertise provided the conceptual framework during morning panel discussions. Afternoon events included bus and walking tours and planning workshops in which over three hundred people participated. The vision forums were followed up with personal interviews with over two hundred representatives of environmental and community-based organizations, government officials, university researchers, and industry.

After publication, Urban Ecology embarked on a region-wide educational campaign using the ideas explored in the book to generate discussion and action “beyond the choir.”

Partial list of organizations that have hosted Blueprint Talks:
Union City Planning Commission
San Leandro Chamber of Commerce
Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility
San Francisco Estuary Institute
Silicon Valley Manufacturers Group
Castro Valley Sanitary District
Center for Sustainable Resource Development, UC-Berkeley
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
North Bay American Planning Association
East Bay Housing Organization
Sonoma County Environmental Business Council
West Marin Chamber of Commerce
Marin Family Action
Silicon Valley Inter-Governmental Joint Venture
Pacifica Environmental Community
City of Oakland Planning Commission
Business Environmental Network.


1999 Environmental & Sustainability Education Award, Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation
1998 Environmental Design Research Association / Places Magazine Award
1998 Education Award, Alameda County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
1997 National Public Education Award, American Planning Association
1997 National Communications Award, American Society of Landscape Architects
1997 Education Project Award, California Chapter of the American Planning Association
1997 Ahwahnee Community Livability Award, Local Government Commission, Sacramento
1997 Best Vision for the Future of the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Guardian