San Joaquin Valley

almond-orchard-300x225.jpgThe San Joaquin Valley adopted its Sustainable Communities Strategy, called “Valley Visions San Joaquin,” on June 26, 2014, and ClimatePlan is now monitoring its implementation.

Find out more about Valley Visions San Joaquin here.

Sign up for ClimatePlan’s weekly updates on the San Joaquin Valley and the state: Send us an email with “subscribe” in the subject line.

Regional Resources

Bringing Downtown Back: Ways to Boost Infill Development in the San Joaquin Valley Published by the Council of Infill Builders The report describes ways that San Joaquin Valley leaders can restore their historic downtowns and overcome the barriers that led to the current deterioration and economic challenges prevalent across many Valley neighborhoods. The findings resulted from a convening of Valley land use experts and officials in Fresno. Download the report (PDF)

Paths to Prosperity for the Southern Sierra and Southern San Joaquin Valley: Capitalizing on the Economic Benefits of Land Conservation and Compact Growth Prepared by Adam Livingston, Sequoia Riverlands Trust for the Southern Sierra Partnership The purpose of this Report is to contribute to land use decisions in the Southern Sierra and Southern San Joaquin Valley by making the economic case for land conservation and compact growth. After providing an overview of current development patterns, the Report uses academic literature, case studies and local data to examine the economic benefits that could be produced by a more sustainable pattern. Download the report (4MB pdf)

Seizing the Opportunity: Using the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Communities Strategies to advance health, sustainability, and shared prosperity This document, endorsed by two dozen organizations, outlines the benefits for Valley communities of adopting a strong Sustainable Communities Strategy and suggests a number of strategies for success. Download the document

A Home for Everyone: San Joaquin Valley Housing Preferences and Opportunities to 2050 By Arthur C. Nelson for the Council of Infill Builders The report analyzes housing trends and consumer preference surveys and finds that continuing business-as-usual Valley land use policies will leave empty-nesters and first-time renters and buyers underserved. Learn more and download the full report here. Download a fact sheet on the report here.

Saving Farmland, Growing Cities: A Framework for Implementing Effective Farmland Conservation Policies in the San Joaquin Valley By American Farmland Trust This report analyzes current efforts by Valley communities to preserve farmland and makes concrete recommendations to help stop farm and ranch land in the Valley from being inefficiently subdivided into housing developments and mini-malls. Learn more and download the report

Fact Sheet: Understanding SB 375 & Sustainable Communities Strategies By ClimatePlan What does SB 375 do and what is a Sustainable Communities Strategy? Download this fact sheet to learn the basics.

Fact Sheet: Sustainable Communities for the Valley By ClimatePlan This 2-page handout explains what’s at stake as the Sustainable Communities Strategies are developed in the San Joaquin Valley. How can communities benefit from a good SCS? Download the fact sheet to learn more.

Review of environmental justice and equity analysis methods in the San Joaquin Valley By Alex Karner and Deb Niemeier, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis This document provides a summary and analysis of the environmental justice and equity analyses performed as part of all 2011 regional transportation plans completed by the eight metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the San Joaquin Valley. It also discusses supplementary environmental justice-specific documents produced by two MPOs. Link to the analysis

Putting the Pieces Together: A Status Update and Overview for the Sustainable Communities Strategy of the San Joaquin Valley From the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council There are a lot questions about the three-letter acronym “SCS” that has us all wondering what is it and what does it mean for the San Joaquin Valley. Hopefully this “layman” summary will answer some of those questions. Download the fact sheet

Vision California: San Joaquin Valley Regional Results By Calthorpe Associates, October 2010 This analysis assesses the economic, energy, health, and land impacts of different ways to accommodate the San Joaquin Valley’s expected growth. Scenarios were developed to reflect a range of land use choices, from a business-as-usual future based on past trends to more compact options, including those represented by the regional Blueprint plan. Download the Regional Results Summary

Groundswell San Joaquin Valley Groundswell’s purpose is a to educate the public and encourage citizen participation in local land use decision making to foster growth that strengthens the economy, conserves resources, causes less pollution, demands fewer tax dollars and better serves the region’s diverse population. Learn more here

Fact Sheet – San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution By Coalition for Clean Air Link to website

California Agricultural Land Loss and Conservation: Basic Facts 2009 By American Farmland Trust Download the PDF

Achieving Sustainability in California’s Central Valley By UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Center – July 2009 This report assesses the capacity of the Central Valley’s cities to manage the economic, social, and environmental problems associated with expected rapid population growth in a sustainable manner,offering alternatives to sprawl and automobile-dependent lifestyles. Download the Report Click here for ClimatePlan’s complete Resource Library

Regional Overview

The eight counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley include a population of just over 4 million people. The population is expected to grow to more than 7.5 million residents by 2050.The San Joaquin Valley, often referred to as California’s heartland, is also the fastest-growing region in the state and the hardest hit by the economic downturn. Communities in the Valley struggle with poor air quality and rising levels of childhood asthma, obesity, and diabetes. Improving air quality in the Valley will be one of the most significant benefits of successfully implementing SB 375.

Quick Facts

More centrally located homes can dramatically reduce household driving and utility costs. By building new homes in areas that are already close to jobs, services, and amenities, Valley households could spend $3,600 less per year on auto-related costs and utility bills by 2035. (Vision California Rapid Fire Model, San Joaquin Valley Regional Results, Calthorpe Associates).

There are eight Councils of Government (COGs) in the Valley that are responsible for regional planning. The COGs  coordinate and work together, but ultimately each is responsible for developing its own Sustainable Communities Strategy. For more information, visit each COG’s website at the links below.

Fresno Council of Governments,
Kern Council of Governments,
Kings County Association of Governments,
Madera County Transportation Commission,
Merced County Association of Governments,
San Joaquin Council of Governments, Stanislaus Council of Governments, Tulare County Association of Governments,

To get involved and learn more, see the websites of partner groups below. Contact ClimatePlan for help getting connected.

Partners in the Region

What They’re Saying…

“Agriculture is such an important part of the San Joaquin Valley’s economy, but farmland is shrinking at an alarming rate. SB 375 is a step in the right direction for the Valley. By focusing new growth within existing city centers, we can preserve valuable farmland and use less water. We owe it to future generations to protect our most precious resources.” – Jeff Steen, citrus grower in the Lindsay-Strathmore area.

American Farmland Trust
California Coalition for Rural Housing
California Rural Legal Assistance
Catholic Charities – Stockton Diocese
Central Valley Air Quality Coalition
El Concilio
Fresno-Madera Medical Society
Fresno Metro Ministry
Latino Community Roundtable
Local Government Commission
Sierra Club – Tehipite Chapter
Sierra Nevada Alliance

Our Strategic Direction


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