Alternative Futures Workshop

Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 6:00 to 8:30pm at Elk’s Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real


On June 24, about 77 community members gathered in the Elk’s Lodge for the third of three community workshops in the first phase of the City’s update of its Comprehensive Plan, Our Palo Alto 2030. The meeting was a forum on alternative futures, asking citizens to explore different ways that Palo Alto might change over the next 15 years.

This workshop identified and elicited ideas for a range of scenarios: type of growth, pace of growth, intensity of development, transportation solutions, energy infrastructure, and quality of life. The discussion built upon the six opportunity sites that were identified based on a synthesis of the input from the June 10th workshop. Participants formed nine small groups of 6 to 10 people to work together to create an alternative scenario, either responding to a preliminary scenario presented by City staff and the consultant team, or an original scenario. The nine alternatives created at the workshop helped shape three alternative future scenarios that – along with a legally-required “no project” (or “business as usual”) scenario – were analyzed in depth in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Comprehensive Plan Update.

Next, the draft alternatives were presented to the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) and City Council in the summer of 2014 and were approved for study.


Each of the nine groups used worksheets to record the group’s ideas and comments on the six Opportunity Site building blocks of the alternative scenarios. Scans of each table’s worksheet from each small group are available at the right. All groups either came up with a new alternative or modified one of the preliminary alternatives offered as a starting point for discussion.