UrbanFootprint Teams Up with the State of California and Social Capital to Bring Our Platform to California Cities

04.11.2018 | Peter Calthorpe

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the State of California and venture firm Social Capital to bring UrbanFootprint California Civic free of charge to over 500 cities, counties, and regional agencies. Today marks an incredible step forward in our company mission to give communities the tools they need to build an environmentally responsible, socially equitable, and economically strong future.

Nearly twenty years ago, my co-founder, Joe DiStefano and I envisioned a platform that could help planners, designers, analysts, and advocates realize sustainable, resilient cities. From projects like Vision California to Louisiana Speaks to Envision Utah, we’ve programmed over 30 years of design experience and proven sustainable planning as the foundation of the UrbanFootprint software. The process became the software; understanding the place and all of its data, developing scenarios to cover a range of concerns and visions, multi-metric analysis across the full spectrum of impacts, and finally consensus building through identifying co-benefits.  Only scenarios that satisfied many needs and resulted in multiple benefits generated the strong coalitions that resulted in real action.  We learned that UrbanFootprint helps all the stakeholders find common ground.

Today, our UrbanFootprint California Civic program will give public planners, designers, and officials access to our comprehensive data library, advanced scenario planning capabilities, and real-time analysis modules built to evaluate plan impacts in terms of emissions, land consumption, water use, energy use, walk and transit accessibility, and more.

Now more than ever, cities are a critical voice in champing smart public policy.

Cities have taken a bold stance in shaping the nation’s public policy. While community planners, designers, and advocates have always been at the forefront of some of our most pressing issues, local governments have now stepped up to the plate as federal leadership recedes.

Just last summer, 350 U.S. cities pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Accord in opposition to the Trump administration’s withdrawal. We’ve seen exceptional city leadership demonstrated by the work of pioneering organizations, like C40 and 100RC, making huge strides in delivering change at the local level and forging a path to support more sustainable, resilient communities. As former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg puts it, “Mayors don’t have to wait for national governments or a new global climate agreement to act. They can take action today—and increasingly, they are.”

Cities are the nexus of our society’s greatest challenges and opportunities. Climate change and resilience, social equity, transportation costs, economic development, affordable housing, public finance, and public health all sit in the realm of urbanism. These seemingly disparate policy issues find a common thread in city design, yet we have few tools to understand and manage the coming urban transformation. It’s our hope UrbanFootprint will help planners and officials illuminate sustainable policy solutions and foster community consensus through the lens of data science.

Finally, I want to thank the people and organizations that have made this partnership possible.

Our initial partnership with the State of California dates back to 2009 when we teamed up with the Strategic Growth Council to fund the framework of UrbanFootprint as an open source platform. We have since doubled down on our investment in UrbanFootprint, growing the platform’s capabilities in leaps and bounds to the fully-fledged product on the market today. We are thrilled to team up with the State of California again for the next phase of UrbanFootprint’s journey in launching UrbanFootprint California Civic.

We are also proud to bring venture firm Social Capital onboard as a key partner in the success and growth of UrbanFootprint. We are honored to join their portfolio as we share a deep interest in their mission to “advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems.”

We know the health of our planet depends upon sustainable, resilient, and thriving cities. Today we begin to build a sustainable future for California, together.

Ready to join our free UrbanFootprint California Civic program?

We’ll begin onboarding interested California jurisdictions over the next few weeks.  Make sure to sign up today to reserve your spot in line. Our team will be in touch to walk through program details and next steps.  

As always, if you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.  

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