Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Report Card
Sixteen years ago, Santa Monica adopted the Sustainable City Plan (SCP), a challenging set of goals to ensure the long term sustainability of its local economy, environment and quality of life. In order to track the progress in meeting the SCP goals and to guide future actions, the City has developed two important tools: the Progress Report, an up to date on-line database that provides comprehensive data analysis; and the Report Card, a summary of the data in easy-to-understand grades. The 2010 Sustainable City Report Card was released in September 2010, and Santa Monica continues to make the grade.
The 2010 Report Card highlights improvements in almost every sustainability goal area and notes several successes over the past year. Some of the notable successes include the following:
- Water Wonders: Water demand dropped in all seasons for the past three years.
- Solar Success: Solar capacity has more than tripled since the launch of Solar Santa Monica. There are 183 grid connected solar projects in the city generating over 1.4 megawatts of solar electricity
- Market Madness: Sales are up 4% at four thriving farmers markets that provide fresh, locally grown and organic produce to nearly a million visitors each year.
- Safer Soap: By not purchasing antimicrobial hand soap, the City keeps almost 1,000 gallons of triclosan-containing soap out of the community and the marine environment annually.
- Cool Carpools: Average vehicle ridership increased from 1.59 last year to 1.64 this year exceeding the Sustainable City Plan target.
- Biking is Big: Bike lanes on city streets increased by 11% and the number of people riding to work increased 13%.
- Pedal Parking: This year the bike valet program parked more than 25,000 bikes for free at community events around the city.
- Community Commerce: More than 200 businesses have joined the Buy Local Santa Monica campaign and demonstrated their commitment to our local community.
- Local Leadership: Twenty one businesses were recognized for their exceptional commitment to sustainable practices through the Green Business Certification Program and the Sustainable Quality Awards.
- Total Trees: The combined size of the community forest grew 2% this year.
- Housing Hope: The city added 248 units of affordable housing in 2008, nearly 50% of the total new units completed. An additional 290 affordable housing units were completed in 2009.
- Creating Community: More than 4,000 people and 60 community groups took an active role in shaping the future of Santa Monica by participating in the update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements.
- Environmental Education: An additional 820 people began integrating sustainable practices in the urban environment by participating in the Sustainable Works Community Greening Program bringing the total participants to more than 5,000.
- Homeless Help: The number of homeless people in Santa Monica dropped 8% between 2007 and 2009, while the number provided services rose 7%.
- Safe Streets: Violent Crime dropped to its lowest level since 2003. Gang crime in 2009 was 2/3 of its 2006 high.
Santa Monica's sustainability efforts were among the first of their kind in the nation and have served as a model for a growing number of cities, academic institutions and businesses. Thanks to the City's leadership, the adoption of aggressive goals for sustainability and the careful tracking of progress are now widely practiced throughout the country.
Dean Kubani, the director of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, said, "The Report Card shows that we are making progress toward becoming a sustainable city. It also identifies the challenges that we face in truly realizing our vision for a sustainable community. If we are to meet the aggressive goals set forth in the Sustainable City Plan, all members of the community need to be educated, involved and committed to our collective success."
Visit www.sustainablesm.org, key word sustainability, for additional information.