The amount of greenfield land developed in the Bay Area from 2000 to 2012 is 32 percent less than the acreage developed during the final decade of the last century. Expansion of the Bay Area’s developed acreage in the final two years of this stretch – from 2010 to 2012 – was the smallest of any two-year period since 1990. This was no doubt influenced by the lingering effects of the Great Recession, but may also reflect the trend away from greenfield development as well as the growth management strategies established by cities and counties across our region.
Development across the Bay Area from 2000 to 2012 increased the size of the region’s developed area to approximately 787,000 acres, making it 13 percent larger than the footprint of 1990. Since 1990, greenfield development was greatest between 1990 and 2000, when approximately 55,000 acres were added to the region’s developed area. Nevertheless, overall densification increased in the 1990’s because while the addition of the newly developed acreage boosted the size of the developed Bay Area by 8 percent, population grew by 12 percent.