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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other

200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974

The California Regional Network

Santa Barbara Region Economic Community Project


Santa Barbara Region Economic Community ProjectThe main industries in the Santa Barbara region are tourism, technology, and small businesses enterprise. Recently, the SBECP has focused the majority of its efforts on the critical issue of land use. Intent on preserving the region's natural beauty while accommodating the steep rise in job and population growth, the collaborative continues to plan and implement the directives seeded in Preserving Our Future - Land Use Principles for the Next Generation.

Region Served: The Santa Barbara South Coast - ranging from Rincon Point on the Santa Barbara/Ventura border through the Gaviota Coast, bordered by the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific

Population: Approximately 200,000

Size of Region: Approximately 475 square miles

Strategic Partners: Primary partner organization is UCSB, which has, through the geography department and the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, provided the basis for the Regional Impacts of Growth Study. Other partners include local governments, the Santa Barbara Council of Governments, and several business leaders

Established: 1996


The Santa Barbara Regional Economic Community Project has helped form a fragile agreement over principles that could guide future land use. Using the Regional Impacts of Growth Study, the Project hopes to develop a set of land-use policies that will have broad community acceptance.

Four primary objectives were identified through the forum Preserving Our Future - Land Use Principles for the Next Generation:

  • Defining the South Coast as a distinct planning region
  • Implementing growth limits
  • Developing responsible land use practices
  • Planning an efficient multi-modal transportation system

SBECP has already established productive partnerships with other entities: the Community Environmental Council, the Santa Barbara Community Indicators Project, local City and County government agencies, the California Policy Forum (with the Regional Civic Alliance of Ventura County), and consultants. These partnerships allow the collaborative to undertake a broad agenda with many technical elements, while retaining a small staff.

One of the most promising projects is a partnership with UCSB to develop computer-based growth models. This tool will analyze several build-out scenarios using a variety of community indicators; and help planners to streamline and optimize their planning processes. It is user-friendly and interactive, allowing the public and decision makers to create their own regional models.