Great Communities Collaborative

The Great Communities Collaborative engages people - particularly low-income people and people of color - in local land use planning so they can shape future growth and create great communities with good public transportation options.

Learn:

What Are Great Communities?

Great communities are walkable, bikable places with good public transportation and a mix of housing, shops, offices, community facilities, and parks.

Abundant parks and sidewalks create spaces for kids to play. Foot traffic keeps local businesses bustling. People in all phases of life and income levels can have a place to call home. Everyone is more active and engaged in their communities, bringing life to the streets and reducing congestion.

We can make great communities come to life by involving a wide range of people in local land use planning processes.

That's because when planning involves the people impacted by new development, amazing things happen. New development doesn't just build houses, condos, and apartments. It creates space for parks, libraries, childcare, and health facilities. It supports local businesses and diversity. It builds community in the truest sense of the word. And together, great communities make the entire region more sustainable and livable.

The Role of the Great Communities Collaborative

Over 50 cities in the San Francisco Bay Area have identified areas where they plan to refocus growth around public transportation stations and existing downtowns. Meanwhile, dozens of new rails stations and Bus Rapid Transit corridors will open over the next decade. Together, these opportunities offer a chance to significantly shape land use planning and achieve countless local and regional benefits.

The Great Communities Collaborative was established to make the most of these opportunities by engaging people - particularly low-income people and people of color - in local land use planning so they can shape future growth and create great communities.

TransForm coordinates the Great Communities Collaborative, which includes Greenbelt Alliance, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, Reconnecting America, Urban Habitat, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and numerous local groups. These groups work in key locations around the Bay Area.

Where We're Working

The Great Communities Collaborative has already worked in over 25 places around the Bay Area to engage people in local land use planning so they can shape their future and create great communities. 

Map of GCC Sites

Get a complete listing of where the Great Communities Collaborative is currently working.

TransForm is leading the efforts of the Great Communities Collaborative in: Oakland (Lake Merritt) and Oakland (International Blvd.).

How to Get Involved

Check out the toolkit TransForm created for activists to use in shaping planning in their communities.

The toolkit includes adaptable fact sheets, guidance on how to run winning campaigns, and tips on getting media attention.

Or check out the specific places where the Great Communities Collaborative is working and get involved with existing efforts at www.greatcommunities.org and contact Land Use Program Director Sandra Padilla.

Impacting Regional and State Land Use Policy

TransForm is working with the other regional nonprofits in the Great Communities Collaborative to influence regional policies and investments in the Bay Area to ensure they support smart growth and community engagement in planning.

A new California climate change law, SB 375, is creating a chance to change how the state grows. Regions will be assigned an emissions reduction target and then develop a plan to meet it that integrates transportation, land use, and housing, called a "Sustainable Community Strategy". The Great Communities Collaborative is working with leaders throughout California to set strong reductions targets and meet housing needs for the Bay Area and all of California.

For more information on some of these campaigns please see the Sustainable Communities Strategy advocacy page.

Award Winning Efforts

The Great Communities Collaborative has been recognized for its efforts throughout the state and beyond for helping to support high quality transit-oriented plans.

  • Both the American Planning Association (APA) California Northern Section and California State Chapter granted the Collaborative with the 2010 Outstanding Planning: Education Award.

International Blvd. partners receiving APA Grassroots Initiative Award
International Blvd. partners receiving APA Grassroots Initiative Award

In addition, the following Collaborative sites have received individual awards:

  • The International Blvd Transit-Oriented Development Project recently received the 2011 Grassroots Initiative Award from the APA California Northern Section and the California State Chapter . This award recognizes initiatives that illustrate how a community utilized the planning process to address needs that extend beyond the traditional scope of planning.
  • In 2009, the Santa Rosa Downtown Area Specific Plan and the Downtown San Leandro TOD Strategy Plan respectively received the Focused Issue Planning – Award of Merit and the Focused Issue Planning Award from the Northern California section of the APA.