Y-Plan Ends With A-Z Guide From Youth In Improving S.F. Bay Area
by Sue Wood on Patch.com
April 26, 2019
Photo: U.C. Berkeley, Y Plan partners
More than one hundred elementary and high school students from East Palo Alto, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco convened at U.C. Berkeley for the 2019 Y-PLAN Policy Summit: Planning a More Inclusive and Resilient Region. At the summit, students met with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco Planning Department, city of Oakland's Sustainability Department, and city of Richmond's City Manager's Office. They presented fresh solutions to some of the San Francisco Bay Area region’s biggest challenges, including affordable housing, gentrification, homelessness, transportation, education, jobs and climate change.
Litzy Cortez, an 18-year-old senior at Phoenix Academy, focused her attention on "gentrification" with her team. The urban term refers to the upgrading of districts and regions to conform to middle-class standards and taste. Cortez and the handful of students in her team provided surveys of what civic leaders expect and what grade schoolers want. The two examples of coinciding wish lists didn't always envision the same things for their neighborhoods.
The common denominator for most fell into the category of nightmarish traffic around the Bay Area.
"I think it's a big issue. When tech came in, there was a lot traffic in the city. It's always busy from especially 3 (p.m.) to 7 (p.m.). It just takes too long to move people around in Santa Clara County," Cortez said.
The youth from Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks saw homeownership as an important tool to protect and build their communities. They sought innovative ways for community members to prepare for homeownership.
"The students have worked hard with community partners to develop some innovative and sophisticated solution-based proposals," said Deborah McKoy of the Center for Cities + Schools. "They are passionate about improving the places we all call home and want to underscore the urgency of addressing current inequities in affordability, accessibility, connectivity and inclusion in our cities."
This year's solution-based proposals include:
- Repurposing church-owned land for youth-friendly affordable housing (Oakland)
- Creating a regional 'pod' transportation system in the year 2050 (San Jose)
- Providing free and reduced digital and distributed education for all (American Canyon),
- Offering more multi-generational housing options and creating a youth policy advisory board to help stabilize gentrifying communities (Peninsula)
- Building indoor playgrounds and supplying masks to adapt schools to wildfires (Santa Rosa)
Under the Y-PLAN (Youth - Plan Learn Act Now) educational methodology, more than 700 student scholars from across the Bay Area partnered with over 50 civic and community organizations this year to research and develop policy proposals on the region's pressing issues.
The initiative represents an award-winning educational strategy that empowers young people to tackle real-world problems in their communities through project-based civic learning experiences.
More information on the Y-Plan can be found here.
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