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Regional Climate Planning and Local Outcomes in California
55th Annual Conference of the Associated Collegiate Schools of Planning, [Philadelphia, PA] (2014)
  • Susan G. Mason, Boise State University
  • Boswell Michael, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
In this study we investigate the impact of California’s landmark regional climate planning law (SB 375) on local climate change planning and policy-making. SB 375 is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by coordinating land use and transportation at the regional level (Sustainable Communities Strategy or SCS) but it notably does not carry a mandate for local jurisdictions to develop consistent strategies. This raises the question of whether the regional effort will be successful. Several scholars have found local drivers to be the primary reason cities adopt climate action planning policies in the U.S. (Krause, 2011; Pitt, 2010). However until recently there were not many regional mandates to follow or learn from for local municipalities. Given that Feiock and West (1993) find state level policies increase the local level adoption of curb-side recycling, might we also find a similar effect for regional climate action planning on local level planning in California? California’s 18 regional planning areas provide a unique test case to see if regional planning does in fact influence local municipalities which have no mandate themselves to engage in climate action planning or policy adoption. If this is the case, then regional planning may be an effective tool to nudge communities to step up to the plate and forgo the often touted free-riding tendency of voluntary cooperation around climate action planning (Krause, 2011; Zahran, 2008). Our research addresses three primary questions: • Whether, when, and why do cities within the 18 climate action planning regions in California conform, implement or modify local policies to meet regional climate action planning goals • When policies are modified or adopted do they those policies conform to the regional climate action planning standard or not? • Is there something about the regional planning agencies or efforts that inspires or motivates the cities to engage in local climate action planning? We establish independent variables measuring the level of local cooperation and coordination with the regional SCS and dependent variables measuring a variety of local demographic, structural, and political factors. We use both descriptive and inferential statistics to determine relationships among these variables. There are 18 regions subject to SB375 and those regions contain 419 cities, which constitute our units of analysis. Data will be collected using state databases, public documents, and a survey of key climate planning contacts in local governments.
Publication Date
October 30, 2014
Citation Information
Susan G. Mason and Boswell Michael. "Regional Climate Planning and Local Outcomes in California" 55th Annual Conference of the Associated Collegiate Schools of Planning, [Philadelphia, PA] (2014)
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