Columnists Mayor Eric Garcetti Opinion

COMMUNITY REPORT: ‘Sustainable City’ plan to strengthen, transform L.A.

Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities because its residents and leaders dreamed, planned and built the metropolis we enjoy today.

They knew our city could only thrive with ample water and power — and the pipes and cables were laid. They imagined great parks and great universities — and they were created. They saw the potential of opening L.A. to the world with a booming harbor and international airport — and it was done.

As we continue into the 21st century, Los Angeles is once again a city on the move. Our creativity entertains and inspires the world. Our investments in transportation infrastructure represent the largest public works project in the nation. And once-declining neighborhoods across Los Angeles are now surging forward with jobs and new life along our main streets.

We expect at least 500,000 more people to call Los Angeles home by 2035, many in South L.A. So the question before us, like it was to those Angelenos of the past, is how can we improve our city today, and ensure future generations enjoy a place that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous and equitable in opportunity for all?

Today, we are taking a big step forward toward answering these questions with the release of my Sustainable City pLAn. This pLAn is a comprehensive and actionable directive that will produce meaningful results for today’s Angelenos while setting us on the path to strengthen and transform our city in the decades to come.

We are incorporating sustainability — and now, this pLAn — into each of our 35 departments and bureaus, from airports to police to water and power and everything in between.

Our new Sustainable City pLAn sets the course for a cleaner environment and a stronger economy, with a commitment to equity as its foundation. This means that issues of vital importance to our communities in South L.A. will be front and center.

For example, air quality is an iconic battle for L.A., and it’s about fairness. Causes of unhealthy air tend to cluster in our poorest neighborhoods, disproportionately affecting some of us. Our pLAn addresses these issues through a multi-faceted strategy targeting building codes, funding for innovative programs like electric vehicle (EV) car sharing in disadvantaged neighborhoods and neighborhood-level air quality monitoring.

We’ll also pilot a zero emissions goods movement to help cut commercial emissions and reduce childhood asthma in our most affected neighborhoods, create the most EV infrastructure of any U.S. city and purchase 50 percent EV vehicles for our light duty municipal fleet by 2017.

We are working to expand the Clean Up Green Up program to South L.A. to reduce waste, and targeting cap and trade dollars to South L.A. to improve air quality and work to improve some of our polluted neighborhoods.

Furthermore, I intend to use the pLAn as a tool to manage the city. Reviews of our department general managers will incorporate whether they are meeting the goals of the pLAn. The outcomes in the pLAn that require additional funding will receive priority in my annual budget process.

Departments will report regularly on their progress, and any challenges they face in implementing the initiatives that the pLAn prioritizes. And every year we will evaluate ourselves, issuing progress reports that will both celebrate success and point out where we need to improve. We will make sure City Hall is accountable to improving health and equity in every LA neighborhood.

This is our moment to come together and transform Los Angeles. It is important to emphasize that the pLAn is not just an environmental vision — by addressing the environment, economy and equity together, we will move toward a truly sustainable future.

These are the keys to a city that Angelenos have said they want our children to inherit — and one that can continue to thrive and provide good health and opportunity for its residents.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Community Report” column runs each month in the Wave.