Imperial Beach Sustainable Community Plan by Reyna Ayala, Timothy Briggs, Brittany Cabeje, and Jose R. Cervantes
As the final project for our graduate Environmental Planning class, we prepared a sustainable community plan for the city of Imperial Beach. Drawing on course readings, research, and field observation, we re-envisioned the existing community plan by including elements of environmental design into the planning process. Through a review of historic photographs, maps, and community archives, several themes emerged that illustrate the ecological challenges of sustainable development in Imperial Beach: developing the landscape, moving people, and managing water.
We also reviewed sustainability indicators such as housing affordability and air quality to understand the community setting and performed a stakeholder analysis to identify what individuals, organizations, and institutions can impact or will be impacted by our proposal. Next, we assessed the current conditions for each of the themes through an ecological audit and identified policy and program recommendations to address areas where the existing community plan could be improved.
Lastly, we imagined an alternative future for Imperial Beach based on Richard Register’s “Ecocity” concept by developing an ecocity zoning map that identifies walkable centers and created areas of higher intensity use in order to recover sprawling landscapes for agricultural or natural purposes. Overall, we concluded that transforming Imperial Beach into a sustainable community requires comprehensive changes to its urban form, its transportation system, and its relationship with water. Future development in Imperial Beach must be pedestrian-friendly, compact, and affordable.