Green New Deal Zoning Petition
With the Green New Deal Zoning Petition, Councillor Zondervan has proposed a framework for accepting emissions offsets to create robust green jobs programs and economic opportunity for the most vulnerable members of our community. Please sign yourself or your organization on in support, and then use the instructions below to email the council! (full language below)
Did you know that Kendall Square is the most valuable square mile of real estate on the East Coast outside of a few neighborhoods in Manhattan? The reason for this is of course the millions and millions of square feet of biotech, pharma, and commercial office space that we've built there. Concentrating all that wealth in one tiny area has created a tale of two cities, in which people of color and low/moderate income residents have been displaced, and those who remain live in the shadows of high-paying jobs and opportunity that simply isn't for them.
Large commercial buildings are also absolutely the biggest contributors to emissions in our city! They make up more than half of our emissions profile, while residential buildings account for just 8%. That's why new housing is completely exempt from the GND Zoning Petition. As climate activists, we must recognize these twin crises as interrelated: despite our adoption of lofty climate goals like "net zero by 2050", city emissions have only increased over time. And the commercial growth driving that increase has left behind our most vulnerable.
This zoning petition proposes that we collect a fee based on the emissions a new commercial building will produce over its lifetime, using the money to do energy efficiency projects and fund green jobs training programs with direct benefit to low income and minority communities. We have an opportunity to redistribute wealth in order to green our city and create economic opportunity for those closest to the pain. And in doing so, we will truly begin to break from our zoning code’s historical and perpetual use as a tool of oppression.
Email the Cambridge City Council in support of the Green New Deal Zoning Petition:
Be sure to copy the City Clerk and City Manager as well:
As hearings are scheduled on the proposal, there will be opportunities to speak in support at public comment as well.
You can read the detailed proposal below: