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ClimateOne Zings Palo Alto on Housing

From the March 22, 2013 ClimateOne podcast:

Gabriel Metcalf, the Executive Director of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) started off by stating that climate was the number one challenge of our era. "Coastal cities are facing an existential threat that we are not prepared to deal with."

At around 15 minutes into the podcast, Carl Shannon, Managing Director at Tishman Speyer, laments that there are suburban cities with real-estate markets that will support dense transit oriented housing to minimize per-capita GHG. "You look at downtown Palo Alto. We could build 15 story condos on University Avenue. We could sell that out overnight. But there is no political will. Palo Alto has that living, thriving downtown that people want. It has office rents that are the highest in the Bay Area. So economically, the engine is there. But you have to find economic desire and political will."

Host Greg Dalton: "Gabe Metcalf, you have to presume that people in Palo Alto get climate change. They get the carbon imperative. And they'd like to solve the problem ... just not in their backyard. People are not willing to make personal tradeoffs for the common good."

Gabriel Metcalf: "I don't think they do get it. Because I just can't believe that if people understood the impacts of their actions they would be making this choice that will be so murderous on future populations. If they understood, they would allow new residents to live in apartments in their city. I can't believe that human nature is bad - if they understood the impact of denying that [smart growth to protect the climate - the core of modern regional planning practice] then they would change their mind." "There is somehow the idea that you should not have to be inconvenienced by even seeing a new building within your line of sight. That is too much to ask for the sake of fighting climate change. I know they're not Republicans. I just don't know what it is."

Greg Dalton: "We got in here first and close the door after us." Dalton also quotes Paly High grad Peter Calthorpe's statements about NIMBYism opposing new residents based on class and race.

Podcast: http://www.climate-one.org/podcast/clean-communities-32213