The Bay Area is quite a tapestry. We have people from around the world trying to make a living here and even more pounding at our doors. We are a global economic force in industries both ancient (wine) and contemporary (tech). From a hilltop above rural Bolinas you can spy the western symbol of urbanism, San Francisco. And over it all, we have over a hundred governments and even more elected boards and semi-independent agencies shaping policy.
The Bay Area is a vibrant, fascinating, diverse, and interconnected place in ways we hardly ever stop to think about. And so, I'm starting a new blog today, in addition to this one, called Vibrant Bay Area.
For the past two years, I've written The Greater Marin, an exploration of these themes for a single county. Yet the deeper I dug into local concerns, like the SMART train and affordable housing, the more I understood that policies in Marin shape the region, and vice versa.
And so, a group of like-minded activists and writers gathered to create a new platform to explore the region's urban affairs from the bottom up.
Vibrant Bay Area is a collaborative attempt to peel back the region’s layers to find the lines that connect our communities and the lessons we can learn from one another. Though each writer has his or her own perspective, we all approach the region from a decidedly urbanist perspective. We believe the future of the Bay Area lies in vibrant town centers accessible by biking, walking, and well-designed transit.
The challenges faced by the Bay are substantial and as diverse as our cityscape. While Vallejo struggles with the financial consequences of unsustainable sprawl, Windsor wonders whether its character can survive an apartment building boom. While VTA runs nearly empty, BART's commuters crush through the Transbay Tunnel. From crime in Oakland to education in San Francisco, transit in Napa and development in Contra Costa, we want to explore this whole great, fascinating region of ours.
And we can't do it alone. Have a tip? Want to write a post? Get in touch with us: info [at] vibrantbayarea.org. We're also on Twitter at @vbayarea. And by all means, if you see that your community or issue isn't receiving the attention it deserves, step up! Our all-volunteer corps can't be everywhere at once, so lend your voice.
The Bay Area is vast, but it is not inscrutable. Join us in shedding a light on the dark corners of our fascinating, vibrant region.