Magic’s Liveable City project was launched in the mid-1970’s to develop and implement an ecological approach to community planning, including:
- an analysis of local and distant consequences of different patterns of land use and human activity,
- a vision for reshaping cities and towns to improve the quality of human life, now and in the future, and
- a strategy for realizing that vision by combining advocacy with direct action.
Participants in Liveable City have performed extensive research, taught classes and workshops, written and distributed software to enable simulation of planning decisions, lobbied legislators and administrators at local, state, and federal levels, and presented papers at state, national, and international conferences. Perhaps most importantly, we have engaged in a number of innovative demonstration projects, each of which serves as an example of citizen-driven, ecologically-based community planning. Though our activities have been centered in Palo Alto and other San Francisco Peninsula communities, our influence has extended far afield. Over the past three decades our software and published materials have been distributed worldwide, and hundreds of foreign and out-of-state visitors have viewed our project sites.
Some of our successes include changing portions of the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan, securing a pavement shading standard for street tree management in Palo Alto, excluding through traffic from the Evergreen Park neighborhood, establishing native trees and understorey plants along riparian corridors and on public and private openspace lands, founding and operating a low-income housing cooperative, and distributing twenty-five thousand fruit trees to children for planting.
We are currently laboring to improve safety of residential neighborhood streets, to plant and care for urban trees, to win adoption of stormwater resource management policies which rely upon restoring elements of the natural hydrologic cycle, and to abate unnecessary noise from leaf blowers, train horns, emergency vehicle sirens, back-up beepers, and other sources. We welcome collaborators in learning and in teaching how all of us may contribute to a better future.
Find out more about our Planning Philosophy.