Letter: DiSC Can Make Davis a Gateway for Innovation and An Exemplar of Sustainable Design

By Gerald Braun

DiSC 2022 has exceptional potential to be a cutting edge, world class project true to the four words in its title. It can make Davis a gateway for innovation and an exemplar of sustainable design, living and working. But it can do this only if voters approve Measure H.

Continuing engagement between the DiSC project team, Davis city staff and independent experts can identify environmentally critical features that will make DiSC a model for 21st century innovation hubs. For example, DiSC can be powered by a zero carbon microgrid that integrates vehicle batteries with community scale and rooftop solar arrays.

I’ve served on appointed Davis commissions and advisory committees. I hold city staff and elected leaders in high regard. I’ve no doubt that DiSC has been properly vetted, problems identified, trade-offs evaluated, solutions determined, and compromises reached. Davis’s governance process works. DiSC critics’ concerns have been addressed and do not warrant another backward step.

What are these concerns?

More local economic activity, more traffic? True. More economic activity is a good problem to have in most cases. Modern US cities have the planning tools and skill sets to accommodate traffic pattern changes. Davis appears to use them reasonably well.

Incremental additional vehicle emissions? True. Vehicle emissions are a big cause of greenhouse emissions in California. Better to pro-actively address new vehicle emissions in Davis’s emissions inventory than outsource them to other communities that do nothing about them.

Loss of prime farmland? Industrial agriculture in California has its own deeply concerning climate impacts. It is a necessary but mixed blessing. Infill is an important goal, but “infill” projects are not an option to do what DiSC can do.

DiSC can be what our City Council is seeking if voters approve Measure H and allow our city government to follow through with active attention, collaboration and advice.

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