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Planning Innovations

Planning Innovations is a new series of regional forums that focus on the planning and implementation of Bay Area’s Priority Development Areas (PDA) and Priority Conservation Areas (PCA).

Pedestrians walking on the sidewalk, cyclists and cars in the roadway, and elevated BART cars above in this rendering.

PDAs and PCAs serve as the framework behind Plan Bay Area, the region’s long-range transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy.  The forums will focus on engaging topics relevant to local jurisdictions and other stakeholders with an interest in advancing transit-accessible development to accommodate future growth in the region. 

Forums will be held three to four times per year in locations throughout the region.  Most forums will offer up to 2.0 CM credits.

To sign up for the Planning Innovations email distribution list, please email Mark Shorett,

Planning Innovations Webinar

The Association of Bay Area Governments, in partnership with HCD, hosted a webinar to discuss state data requirements, solicit input on regional data tools and train local planners to use a site selection tool to analyze parcel-level data and pre-populate HCD’s new site inventory form.


Helping Cities and Counties Adopt SB1000: Planning for Environmental Justice and Healthy Communities
May 2, 2019

In 2016, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1000 requiring cities and counties that have disadvantaged communities to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) policies into their General Plans, either in a separate EJ element or by integrating related goals, policies, and objectives throughout the other elements. This update must happen upon the adoption or next revision of two or more elements concurrently on or after January 1, 2018. 

Complete Streets to Green Streets: Planning for Urban Greening and Stormwater Management
October 24, 2018

Urban greening has the potential to address many challenges in the built environment, from stormwater runoff and flood prevention to reducing greenhouse gases and increasing mental health benefits. As an agent of urban greening, green streets planning incorporates complete streets features with green infrastructure for stormwater management. As local staff prepare specific plans in and around Priority Development Areas, we hope to elevate sustainable redevelopment practices.

The fall Planning Innovations forum, Complete Streets to Green Streets, provided an in-depth overview of the policy and planning alignment, funding resources, and online tools to support green infrastructure implementation. This forum built on resources from the EPA Urban Greening Bay Area Initiative, such as the April 2018 release of the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association’s (BASMAAs) Roadmap of Funding Solutions for Sustainable Streets, and shared best practices for aligning specific plans with urban greening master plans.

Forum #1: Advancing PDA Implementation: Successful Placemaking Strategies
March 23, 2016


Forum #2: Financing PDA Infrastructure – Strategies to Meet Today's Needs
July 27, 2016

Forum #3: Advancing PDA Implementation: Affordable and Workforce Housing Policy and Design
January 26, 2017


Forum #4: Moving from LOS to VMT: Making SB743 an Asset to Your Community 
Thursday, June 8, 2017


Forum #5: Tricks and Tools for Implementing Complete Streets
October 26, 2017


Forum #6: How Objective is “Objective”? Effective Development Standards in the SB35 and Housing Accountability Act Era
February 13, 2018

Recent state housing legislation, combined with lawsuits focusing on local development review, increase the importance of translating city goals and guidelines for PDAs into “objective development standards. Follow an interactive discussion led by an experienced panel to investigate the implications of the Housing Accountability Act, SB35 and other key housing legislation for plan making, code writing, and project review.

Forum #7: SB 743 Implementation Strategies: Moving from LOS to VMT - Part II: Show Me the (Fee) Money! 
June 5, 2018

Planning Innovations is a series of regional forums that focus on the planning and implementation of Bay Area’s Priority Development Areas (PDA) and Priority Conservation Areas (PCA). This event is co-sponsored by the Association of Bicycle and Pedestrian Professionals, working to grow the pedestrian and bicycle profession and its influence by facilitating the exchange of professional and technical knowledge, elevating practitioners’ skills and defining the field. This event is eligible for 2.0 CM Credits.

Forum #8: Subjective No More: Lessons from HAA and SB 35 Early Adopters
September 7, 2018

The Housing Accountability Act and SB 35 have added significant new requirements to already busy planning departments, but have not yet provided guidance on how to comply. This webinar is intended to help jurisdictions respond to the new rules. It deals with practical questions like:

  • What does a work plan for updating local rules and regulations look like?
  • What are the key steps?
  • How much time does it take to adjust standards and procedures?
  • Should the work be done in house or contracted out?

Tune in to learn from early adopters and spotlight cities that are further along in integrating the HAA / SB 35 into their planning process. For example, Benicia has developed objective design standards consistent with the new laws. Goldfarb & Lipman, LLP has produced a checklist for developers that want to claim eligibility for streamlined review. Oakland has reviewed their entire code to identify what is objective and what is not. These cities shared lessons and insights from their work so far.

This webinar focuses on implementation steps jurisdictions are taking to integrate the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) and SB 35 into their planning process, and primarily on how jurisdictions are identifying Objective Standards to inform their project review process; it will not cover the technical details of the laws in great depth. To learn more about the basics of the legislation passed in 2017, visit You may also be interested in viewing the first ABAG/MTC Planning Innovations forum on the new housing laws, How Objective is Objective, presented earlier this year. (See Forum #6 above.)

Hosted by 21 Elements and ABAG/MTC Planning Innovations Series.