Santa Barbara

Spanish-style State Street commercial buildings in downtown Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara Expands ADU Program to Boost Housing

The city hopes that permitting larger ADUs and making adaptive reuse easier will help it meet its state-mandated goal of building over 8,000 new housing units by 2031.

February 7, 2023 - Noozhawk

Clean Air Express bus in downtown Santa Barbara

Electric Intercity Bus Introduced in Santa Barbara

The zero-emissions bus is part of a regional fleet called the Clean Air Express that connects Santa Barbara County towns and employment centers.

February 7, 2022 - The Santa Barbara Independent

Lower State Street in Santa Barbara (between Ortega St and Cota St).

Santa Barbara May Scale Down Outdoor Dining Areas

The city will consider adjustments to its outdoor dining policy after the fire department expressed concerns about access for emergency vehicles.

January 31, 2022 - KEYT

A rendering depicting the proposed design for Munger Hall on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dormitory Planning Takes a Turn Toward the Absurd at UC Santa Barbara

A controversy over a massive new dorm proposed for the University of California Santa Barbara, which comes with design strings attached by the donor paying for the new facility, has taken the Internet by storm.

November 2, 2021 - The Santa Barbara Independent

California from Space

Can We Know Which Homes in California Will Burn?

As the state's worst wildfire season ever refuses to end, an analyst from UCLA considers how land use and building codes determine the location and extent of the damage.

December 11, 2017 - The Conversation

Homeless Bans

California Cities Continue to Criminalize Homelessness with RV Bans

Coastal cities are taking a no-tolerance approach to RVs on their streets, even as they otherwise strive to mitigate and prevent homelessness.

August 7, 2017 - Pacific Standard


Homelessness Declining in Santa Barbara

In contrast to other California cities, seaside Santa Barbara is successfully reducing its homeless population. Local advocates cite a tight-knit network of service providers.

March 21, 2017 - Pacific Standard

Can California Kick the Oil Habit?

As the nation's third largest oil producer, California has a long history with the oil industry, yet it's also the birthplace of the American environmental movement. Lisa Margonelli makes the case for the Golden State reducing its oil addiction.

November 15, 2015 - Zocalo Public Square

Rental Construction

Escaping the Cycle of Inflated Housing Costs

In an insightful article, William Fulton unpacks the supply-demand cycle driving costs skyward in certain areas. To address the problem, new construction needs an unprecedented level of diversity.

August 18, 2015 - California Planning & Development Report

Does Dunkin' Donuts Fit Taco Bell's Curves?

That's the question some members of Santa Barbara's Architectural Board of Review are asking the coffee and donut chain as they pursue their invasion of the Golden State. Dunkin' Donuts is eyeing a Taco Bell site in the city.

July 28, 2015 - Noozhawk

California Water Pipeline

California Drought Watch: Residential Builders Fear Moratoriums

Home builders fear bans on connections of homes to water systems, issued from the state and cities, will increase next month when Gov. Jerry Brown's new water mandates take effect June 1.

May 5, 2015 - The Wall Street Journal

California Turns Toward the Sea for Drought Relief

The Wall Street Journal examines desalination efforts on the Central and South Coasts, starting with the reactivation of a Santa Barbara plant. Notwithstanding criticisms on costs and environmental damage, eight plants have been built since 2006.

March 4, 2015 - The Wall Street Journal

Gated House

How the One Percent Deals with Drought in California

Anna Louise Bardach tells the story of Montecito, California, an extremely wealthy enclave near Santa Barbara, which has enough money to buy its way out of the drought.

August 26, 2014 - Politico Magazine

Old, NIMBY and Resilient?

The Economist wonders if Santa Barbara's relative financial health is owed to its aging population and resistance to development.

March 3, 2009 - Economist

Housing for the Mentally Ill

Last week, a Santa Barbara apartment community, The Garden Center, opened to 38 new residents. The apartments were specifically designed to combat homelessness through housing and mental health care all at once.

December 19, 2008 - Miller-McCune

Parking Lot Hotels Serve Homeless

An outreach counseling group in Santa Barbara, California, has worked with the city to set up 12 parking lots where people can sleep in their cars at night -- an act that is illegal on city streets.

May 22, 2008 - CNN

Unprecedented Agreement Between Oil Company and Enviros

The agreement trades a massive open space donation and other terms for clearance to conduct exploratory drilling off the coast.

May 6, 2008 - The Planning Report

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.