The Economy

The Bay Area is known throughout the world as an economic powerhouse at the leading edge of innovation. While highly productive and diverse, the Bay Area’s economy is also quite volatile, creating significant strains on housing and infrastructure, especially during economic booms.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Economic cycles have been keenly felt in the Bay Area, with dramatic booms and equally precipitous busts. Yet the region has nonetheless recovered each time, often charting new technological frontiers and with them the national economic map.

Plan Bay Area 2050 will be the first comprehensive planning effort in the Bay Area to look beyond transportation and housing to plan for shifts in the regional economy. As the next long-range regional plan looks ahead to 2050, how should the Bay Area respond to sudden booms and busts of economic output, population and employment? And how can economic strategies influence the future location of development to address long-standing geographic imbalances of jobs and housing?

These issues will be at the foundation of the Economy Element, one of the four areas of focus, along with the environment, housing and transportation, in Plan Bay Area 2050.

Only through partnership with local, state and federal governments – as well as with businesses and non-profit organizations – will Plan Bay Area 2050’s vision of a more resilient and equitable region come to fruition. MTC and ABAG will develop a short-term Implementation Plan for how the region can work to take action to enact the strategies adopted in Plan Bay Area 2050. The Implementation Plan will outline tangible actions related to the Economy Element of Plan Bay Area 2050 that MTC, ABAG and their partners could advance to realize this shared vision.  

Core Questions to Address in the Economy Element

  • Where should we prioritize job growth?
  • What strategies are required to support job growth?

Work Completed

  • Regional Growth Framework Update. The Regional Growth Framework – comprised of Priority Development Areas, Priority Conservation Areas and Priority Production Areas (a newly-established pilot) – is the Bay Area’s strategy for coordinating housing and job growth to achieved shared goals. The Regional Growth Framework will shape the investments and growth pattern detailed in the upcoming Plan Bay Area 2050. ABAG and MTC in June 2019 opened a call for cities, counties, special districts, and County Transportation Agencies to submit Letters of Interest and/ or Letters of Confirmation. Submissions were due September 16, 2019, and the submissions window is now closed. Learn more about the call for letters.
  • Regional Growth Forecast Methodology. Before developing a localized growth pattern as part of the Blueprint, a long-range regional growth forecast must be developed to identify the number of people, jobs and housing units required through 2050. On September 19, 2019, staff held a public hearing on methodology updates and the ABAG Executive Board approved the regional forecast methodology for use in Plan Bay Area 2050. Draft forecast work is now underway.

Upcoming Milestones

Winter 2020

  • Analysis of Draft Blueprint

Spring 2020

  • Analysis of Draft Blueprint

Summer 2020

  • Public and Stakeholder Meetings on Draft Blueprint  
  • Release of Draft Blueprint Results

Fall 2020

  • Refinement of Economic Strategies
  • Release and Adoption of Final Blueprint

Point of Contact
Johnny Jaramillo, Regional Planning Program