UC-Berkeley, ABAG, and MTC are collaborating on an Industrial Land and Job Study to complement the 2015 MTC Goods Movement Needs Assessment. This study will analyze the demand for and supply of industrially zoned land in the nine-county region, both now and in the future. Today, the diversity of industrial activities – a broad category that includes not only manufacturing jobs but transportation and warehousing, wholesale, and some business services as well — within the nine-county Bay Area has important implications for regional sustainability and jobs. Locating wholesale distributors in particular near major trading ports and city centers, on industrial lands where space is relatively more affordable, provides access to key local markets and helps ensure the efficient movement of goods. Further, the Bay Area’s lighter “maker and artisanal goods” industries gain productivity benefits from clustering in the core. The relocation of goods movement-dependent and other industries to outlying areas – a trend that is already occurring – has economic impacts and significantly increases vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from trucks (Hausrath Economics Group and Cambridge Systematics 2008). Relocation of these firms may also increase VMT for workers, should their job accessibility decrease, or result in a loss of employment if the firm moves outside the Bay Area altogether.
This study will examine the potential for industrially zoned land to be converted, as well as the likely economic and VMT impacts of conversion. After an assessment of the effectiveness of the different types of industrial zones found in the region, the study will conclude by developing strategies for industrial land that support the policy and planning approaches under development by MTC / ACTC for sustainable goods movement in the region. UC-Berkeley will lead the technical analysis. ABAG and MTC will collaborate actively in research design, evaluation of results, and design of strategies.
This joint UC-Berkeley/ABAG/MTC study links to the MTC Goods Movement Needs Assessment in its goals (in particular, to increase economic growth and coordinate local land use with goods movement); its opportunities (to support emerging industries and integrated planning); and issues of concern (such as land use conflicts, air quality impacts, and concerns about loss of industrial land). It also fills gaps in the MTC study, which does not analyze the supply and demand for industrially zoned land, the relationship to economic and employment growth, and the issue of land conversion. The results of the UC-Berkeley/ABAG/MTC study will be integrated with the MTC Goods Movement Needs Assessment.
The joint UC-Berkeley/ABAG/MTC study will produce two datasets. The study will update the regional parcel database with detailed information on industrially zoned lots. It will also create its own employment datasets based on NETS (Dun & Bradstreet) data that may differ from MTC’s employment data, given the field work and detailed data gathering for this project. By providing a detailed land use analysis of the location of goods movement and related industries, now and in the future, the study will help ABAG identify critical areas needed to support the efficient movement of goods and existing strategies proven to support these key areas for goods movement and related activities. It will also identify areas not needed by goods movement and related industries, laying the foundation for their conversion to other needed uses.
This joint UC-Berkeley/ABAG/MTC study will:
- Analyze the function of and demand for industrially zoned land in the economy of today and tomorrow, in light of changes in technology and global trade;
- Describe the current supply, occupancy rates, and location of industrially zoned land, and develop a typology of businesses currently located on industrial land that includes their projected space needs, growth trends and location in the region;
- Identify likelihood of industrially zoned land to be lost or converted to other uses for reasons such as demand from more profitable uses that can pay more for space, obsolescence of industries, new developments arising nearby in a context of liberal industrial land use controls, and so forth.
- Analyze the economic, employment and transportation impacts of land conversion on job quality and accessibility, other industry sectors, and VMT (based on estimates of employee travel and goods movement),
- Assess effectiveness of different types of industrial zones at protecting industrial/PDR uses (where warranted). Local zoning regulations (such as manufacturing, mixed use, or industrial protection zones) across the nine-county region differ in their ability to protect PDR uses.
- Estimate future needs for industrially zoned land and develop strategies for preserving industrially zoned land, as needed, to support the policy and planning approaches under development by MTC / ACTC to support sustainable goods movement in the region.
The UC-Berkeley/ABAG/MTC work will produce the following products:
- Interim Memo on Overview of Industrial Activities Today, Industrial Land Supply and Demand, including new database of industrially zoned land.
- Interim Memo on Conversion of Industrially Zoned Land.
- Interim Memo on Economic, Employment, and VMT Impacts of Conversion.
- Interim Memo on Zoning Effectiveness.
- Draft Final Report.
- Final Report, date TBD based on feedback from MTC/ABAG staff and boards.
Chapple, K. 2014. The highest and best use? Urban industrial land and job creation. Economic Development Quarterly.
Related News and Media
KQED Forum with Michael Krasny
Industrial Land Conversion
December 3, 2007