newark_calif
Declan McAleese

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Newark, Calif., but it’s not exactly a shining gem in California’s crown. It’s marshy and railroad-yardy and John Steinbeck-y. And usually when they decide to develop a place like that, some jerk just comes in and covers the place with a bunch of cheap freestanding single-family homes where everyone has to drive three miles to do anything and the cycle of wasteful American suburban ennui just continues apace. Well, Newark ain’t going out like that. Newark is going to become a sustainable paradise.

What they’re going to do instead is build some apartments and some townhouses, on 200 reclaimed acres formerly owned by chemical companies. They’re going to put in some stores that people can actually walk to. And then they’re going to put in a train so people can go to work. Because no matter how cute this place gets, it’s not going to have jobs like nearby San Francisco or Silicon Valley, but at least people can take a train to them instead of sitting in their cars and rotting. Which is what most of California does, which is why it’s a big deal for Newark to do something as small as putting in a train.

The state has new laws about carbon emissions, so some of this is probably being done because it just has to be, but that’s a good reason. We don’t have any problem with a government that steps in every once in a while and says, let’s makes this place classy but efficient, who’s with me? So: Newark, California. It’s where your kids are going to want to live.