Land Use

SANDAG is committed to ensuring that the 2021 Regional Plan is carried out in a way that serves the needs of our diverse communities and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why we have analyzed potential land use impacts in order to accommodate the San Diego region’s population growth, future employment, and housing needs to sustain our economic prosperity and protect our sensitive habitats and resources.  

The San Diego region is in the southwestern corner of the United States and is bordered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, Camp Pendleton, Orange and Riverside Counties, and Imperial County. Our region encompasses more than 4,260 square miles and includes 18 incorporated cities, 17 federally-recognized tribal governments, and incorporated and unincorporated San Diego County.  

One challenge we face as a region is how steadily our population is increasing, which continues to create pressure for additional infrastructures, such as housing, jobs, transportation, and commercial and retail facilities, to accommodate population growth. During the last decade, many local jurisdictions updated their land use plans and zoning ordinances, which collectively moved the region’s vision of the future toward more compact development near transit with greater open space preservation. Focusing on housing and job centers in existing urbanized areas has replaced previous assumptions of more dispersed development patterns. By the year 2050, when our population is anticipated to reach 3.7 million people or about 13% more than today, approximately half of the region’s land will be dedicated to open space and habitat preservation. 

The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) for the 2021 Regional Plan concentrates future growth for housing and jobs in the region within areas called Mobility Hubs. Mobility Hubs are designed to fulfill a variety of travel needs while strengthening a community’s sense of place by concentrating destinations, and travel choices within communities. Additionally, the SCS land use pattern identifies areas within the region that are sufficient to house existing and future housing needs as identified in the 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment.