When we plan for the future, what sort of future would we plan for? New technologies like autonomous vehicles, rising sea levels and climate change, earthquakes, economic booms and busts, political volatility or other external forces likely will fundamentally alter the Bay Area’s by the year 2050.
To explore challenging questions that traditionally have been outside the regional planning process, MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments developed a new initiative — Horizon — to explore the pressing issues and possible challenges Bay Area residents may face through 2050. This work began in early 2018 and helped inform Plan Bay Area 2050.
The Horizon initiative was the first comprehensive Bay Area planning effort to look not just at transportation and housing but also economic development, resilience and the effects of emerging technologies.
The Horizon initiative considered questions like:
- How should different levels of autonomous vehicle adoption inform our traditional transportation investments?
- What strategies should we consider to better prepare our neighborhoods, business centers and other built infrastructure for increasingly frequent disasters?
- How should the Bay Area respond to sudden booms and busts of economic output, population and employment?
- What actions can the Bay Area take to improve our resilience to national and international geopolitical and economic shifts?
Horizon’s Guiding Principles
In order to establish guideposts for our work on the Horizon initiative, we conducted public engagement in early 2018. We received over 10,000 unique comments from residents across the Bay Area when we asked, “What are the most pressing issues we should consider as we plan for life in 2050?” This feedback helped us refine the five Guiding Principles below that underlie the Horizon initiative and have transitioned to our work on Plan Bay Area 2050:
Affordable: All Bay Area residents and workers have sufficient housing options they can afford — households are economically secure.
Connected: An expanded, well-functioning transportation system connects the Bay Area — fast, frequent and efficient intercity trips are complemented by a suite of local transportation options, thereby connecting communities and creating a cohesive region.
Diverse: Bay Area residents support an inclusive region where people from all backgrounds, abilities and ages can remain in place — with access to the region’s assets and resources.
Healthy: The region’s natural resources, open space, clean water and clean air are conserved — the region actively reduces its environmental footprint and protects residents from environmental impacts.
Vibrant: The Bay Area is an innovation leader, creating quality job opportunities for all and ample fiscal resources for communities.
For more information on Plan Bay Area 2050, go to planbayarea.org.