Thursday, March 15, 2007
Which is the most urbanized state? No, it’s not in the Northeast; it’s California, where the vast majority of the population is tucked into a handful of great metropolises. This is true even though California is still the nation’s most valuable supplier of agricultural products. With places such as the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay area effectively “full” (especially if you’re looking for low-cost housing), where will new Californians live in the 21st century?
The answer seems obvious –- the great Central Valley, which is both America’s vegetable basket and the home of many growing towns and booming cities. One of the fastest growing counties is San Joaquin County, in the heart of the valley. There, the county’s eight cities are getting together to discuss common problems and potential coordinated solutions to dealing the expected doubling of the population over the next 50 years.
It would be wonderful if communities could reach agreements to cooperate on vital land use issues, such as affordable housing and farmland preservation. The Tiebout hypothesis aside, cities should not compete with each other to exclude low-income persons and to push LULUs around. Perhaps the San Joaquin cities will reach agreements for each to accept their fair share of low-cost housing and a fair share of undesirable but necessary land uses. And let’s hope that they don’t decide to push the problems over to the adjoining counties in the Central Valley …