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San Diego Planners Looking Ahead to 2050

Audio

Aired 12/11/09

Senior planners from all 18 cities around San Diego are meeting to build a forecast of future growth in the region. California law now requires cities to think more long term.

Senior planners from all 18 cities around San Diego are meeting to build a forecast of future growth in the region. California law now requires cities to think more long term.

The San Diego Association of Governments, SANDAG, usually draws up forecasts that look ahead 20 years.

But Bill Anderson, chief planner for the city of San Diego and chair of the regional planning working group, says as global warming becomes part of the equation, that’s not far enough ahead.

“We recognize, as we’re dealing with sustainability and possibly impacts from climate change, rising sea levels, etc., we have to look longer term and out to 2050. That’s so we can start to prepare for what we might have to do to preserve our quality of life here as the region grows.”

Anderson points out that San Francisco’s “Bart” transit system was conceived in the 1960s when the city was about the size that San Diego is now.

SANDAG predicts San Diego’s population will grow from 3.1 million now to 4.4 million in 2050. Most of that, 60 percent, will be from births -- the rest from migration from elsewhere.

Cities are modifying their community plans to absorb that growth, mostly clustered in urban areas and near transit lines. The forecasts show plenty of room for job growth to employ the thousands who will be coming to live here. However there is still a projected shortfall of about 10,000 homes. Staff is working with cities to close that gap.

As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of people living in each household may decrease, but household size is projected to increase as more children live with their parents. That could reduce the number of homes needed.

The final draft forecast for 2050 will be presented for review next February.

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