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Sam Liccardo San Jose

“The City of San José values inclusive and sustainable growth. We have taken steps over the past few years to ensure all residents, businesses, and organizations can participate in and benefit from the prosperity and culture of innovation in Silicon Valley. From creating a sustainable, smart city that is powered by clean energy and electric vehicles, to going all-in for transit oriented development, progress on our goals will require partnerships like the Champion Mayors initiative, that can provide us with other cities around the world that are also working to create a more inclusive city”

– Mayor Sam Liccardo


Since Mayor Sam Liccardo took office in 2015, San José has thrived. In his very first year, Sam settled intense battles over pension reform with 11 unions, saving taxpayers $3 billion over the next three decades and enabling the restoration of San José’s police force. He has led the most successful period of economic growth in the City’s history, announcing major expansions from employers like Adobe, Apple, Broadcom, and Google. Sam has also implemented innovative approaches to reduce homelessness—such as converting motels, expanding work-first programs, and building “tiny home” villages—while working with community partners to house more than 1,000 homeless veterans.

Sam has helped broaden prosperity in San José by launching after-school programs in less affluent neighbourhoods, providing jobs for 2,000 at-risk teens, teaming with community colleges to eliminate tuition for low income students, and lifting the minimum wage across the region. Sam has also co-led successful measures to bring BART and other transit improvements to San Jose, and protect our hillsides and open spaces from sprawling development. In 2018, San Jose residents overwhelmingly re-elected Sam, with 76% of the vote.

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Mayor promoting
Inclusive Growth ?
Climate Smart San Jose A Paris-Agreement aligned pathway for a sustainable future

In February 2018, San José was one of the first US cities to adopt a Paris Agreement-aligned climate action plan: Climate Smart San José. The Plan puts forth bold climate actions to drastically increase the community’s energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy and dramatically reduce car emissions, all while promoting culturally vibrant neighbourhoods. Early implementation of the Plan will include the launch of San José Clean Energy, the largest single city Community Choice Aggregator in the country. It will provide carbon-free electricity to the 10th largest city in the U.S. by 2021; the development of transformative transit projects – including the expansion of the region’s primary rail system, BART, into San José’s downtown; and the procurement of electric buses in our transit agency and at the San José Mineta International Airport. The Plan brings together city departments, related agencies, the private sector, and, ultimately, our residents, and community groups to significantly change how cities work – pivoting from one that is City-centric into one that is people-focused.

The city and community have come together to not only support the principles of the Paris Agreement, but to develop a plan that charts the best pathways for keeping global temperature rise this century below 2°C. At the same time, San José is a growing city and is expecting 400,000 more people by 2040. Climate Smart San José provides a framework for urban and economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Climate Smart San José leverages San José’s strengths and is framed around four core principles:

Inclusive: Seeking to improve quality of life throughout San José by making the Plan accessible to all residents, regardless of income or background;

People-centered: Connecting the Plan with the concept of the “Good Life” to link climate smart choices to quality of life benefits for residents in order to help deliver the aspirations and desires of our residents, excite residents to engage on climate issues, and drive the adoption of carbon-reducing technologies and beaviors from niche users to the mainstream;

Data-driven: Grounding the Plan in quantitative evidence to best address the major drivers of GHG emissions and set the community on a clear pathway aligned with Paris Agreement goals;

Implementation-ready: Including actionable measures through its nine key strategies and associated milestones, a set of bold goals, a City Action Plan, and community Playbooks.


Staying within the 2°C threshold of temperature increase will require San José to act proactively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a rate of 6.5 percent year-over-year until 2050. To achieve this ambitious trajectory, Climate Smart San José outlines bold goals to help achieve this, including:

1. By 2040, becoming the world’s first 1 GW solar city;
2. By 2021, providing the City’s one million residents with 100% carbon-free energy by 2021;
3. By 2030, creating an additional 22 million sq. ft. of commercial workspace located within half a mile of transit;
4. By 2030, 60% of all passenger vehicles in the city will be electric, making us the electric car capital of the US;
5. By 2030, San José will have developed 40,000 dwelling units in its urban villages and focused growth areas; and
6. By 2030, all new and existing municipal buildings will be Net Zero Carbon (NZC) and by 2050, all existing buildings in the City will be NZC.


San José is committed to ensuring that Climate Smart San José benefits our diverse community, including low-income and multi-family communities and communities of colour, including with the development of culturally inclusive campaigns and community playbooks.

A Smart City Vision San José will become the most innovative city in the US by 2020

In 2016, San José launched it’s first ever Smart City Vision, with the aim of becoming the most innovative city in the US by 2020.


5 key goals undergird our Smart City Vision:

1. Safe City: Leverage technology to make San Jose the safest big city in America.
2. Inclusive City: Ensure all residents, businesses, and organizations can participate in and benefit from the prosperity and culture of innovation in Silicon Valley
3. User-Friendly City: Create digital platforms to improve transparency, empower residents to actively engage in the governance of their city, and make the City more responsive to the complex and growing demands of our community.
4. Sustainable City: Utilize technology to address energy, water, and climate challenges to enable sustainable growth.
5. Demonstration City: Reimagine the City as a laboratory and platform for the most impactful, transformative technologies that will shape how we live and work in the future.
6. Issues of equity and inclusion underlie and inform each of our five key goals. To this end, these are some projects that illustrate how San Jose has woven equity and inclusion into every aspect of what we do:


Closing the Digital Divide. Today, we have over 95,000 residents without broadband Internet access. On May 1, 2018, the San José City Council approved the allocation of funds raised from new small cell agreements to be allocated to a “Digital Inclusion Fund” to close the digital divide for our most vulnerable residents, especially low-income children who cannot do their homework, the elderly, and the disabled. In the heart of Silicon Valley, this hidden issue keeps those who lack Internet access locked out of educational and employment opportunities.


As part of this strategy, we:

– Broaden access to basic digital infrastructure to all residents, especially our youth, through enabling free or low cost, high-speed, 1 gigabit or faster broadband service in several low-income communities, and increasing access to hardware, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops for low-income students.

– Build digital skills of our residents through investing in Opportunity Youth and in professional training programs to create a pathway into high tech jobs in Silicon Valley. Expand our libraries’ roles as digital skills training centers, with the continued growth of coding camps, entrepreneurship training, maker spaces, and online learning centers.

– Provide free Wi-Fi for East Side Union High School District.. East Side Union High School District and the City of San José are working together to provide free Wi-Fi in some of the city’s poorest areas.

– Partner with Sprint to connect low-income high schoolers to the Internet, by working with Sprint to provide over 4,000 high school students Internet-connected devices for all 4 years of high school so they can learn and grow.


Building on this foundation, we drive better outcomes by:

– Utilizing digital tools to help address homelessness and access to affordable housing in San José, such as creating an online rental registry with Housing and Code Enforcement officials to better protect tenants from retaliatory evictions, substandard housing and rent control violations. We also work with non-profit partners to use mobile technology to better target scarce resources for homeless assistance.

– Supporting economic development in historically struggling business districts by using data tools to demonstrate the business case for investing in San José, such as illustrating the purchasing power of neighborhoods by capturing and analyzing foot traffic by location.


With initiatives like the Smart City Vision, we are committed to ensuring that residents and members of our community in San José can participate in and benefit from the prosperity and culture of innovation in Silicon Valley.