Planning for Reality

Planning for Reality is a site that provides news, reference information and discussion about high density housing, urbanization and transit oriented development in order to preserve and improve quality of life, plan for measured growth, fight climate change and improve mobility.


  • Fighting Climate Change, But Doing So Cost-Effectively: Anthropological climate change is real. We need to reduce emissions, but not by simply approving any project reducing emissions by even the smallest amount; resources to combat climate change are limited, so only projects abating emissions in a cost effective manner should be justified using. Too many projects today proceed based on even the smallest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We should not be sacrificing taxes or quality of life if the benefit is insufficient.
  • Measured Growth: There will be population growth. However we are not facing a significant jump in growth as some government agencies and organizations would have us believe. We should continue to plan for measured growth.
  • Fact-Based Decision Making: Policy documents and plans are descending into marketing brochures that use sounds-right sound bites to progress plans based on unvalidated references to “sustainability”, “green” or defending against “sprawl”. Decisions need to be made based on facts such as current and future car and light truck emissions,  transit emissions, transit ridership (per capita) and passenger miles per gallon.
  • Resident Representation: Achieving the best outcome requires open discussion by all stakeholders – and those most impacted are existing residents. It is vital that residents’ are effectively able to provide their input – this is not always straight forward when planning concepts can require significant expertise, and where special interest groups may have valid, but adjacent objectives.

nmij0822smart04Richard Hall


Richard Hall is the founder of the neighborhood group “Quiet and Safe San Rafael”, former President of the Vista Marin Homeowners Association and a supporter of measured growth.

Richard led the successful opposition to the San Rafael Civic Center Priority Development Area (PDA) and was involved from early on fighting the Larkspur Station Area Plan which was also defeated. Both development plans that targeted neighborhood for substantial growth were made without any consultation or outreach to residents.

This PDA designation by the Association of Bay Area Governments was evolved into a “Station Area Plan”. This plan took Richard’s low density neighborhood with 1,110 low rise houses and apartments in a 1/2 mile radius and planned to transform it into a “transit town center”. The plan more than doubled the number of housing units in return for transportation grants of approximately $500,000.

Richard became more involved as he witnessed a rigged committee process that served to exclude and dismiss resident input and concerns. While the PDA designation has now been rescinded, driven by the injustice he witnessed, Richard became more engaged in understanding transportation and land use planning.

Richard frequently writes and presents on the topic of measured growth. He is responsible for guerrilla marketing campaigns opposing fast growth initiatives such as Plan Bay Area. He has produced videos that include “The Social Engineers – Episode 1” and “Episode 2” and “The Story of How Marin Was Ruined“ to help increase public education and awareness.

Richard is a high-tech Director of Product Management who has worked on web and mobile apps for Sony, Dolby, Autodesk and the first Internet startup – Netscape. He uses a mastery of business modeling and spreadsheets to understand the true benefits of land use and transportation projects.