Sustainable Development & Planning



Former Community and Economic Development Director, currently Land Use Consultant with a specialization in sustainable development, and Sustainability, Patrizia Materassi offers 35 years of experience and a methodology to assist you with decision making - Sustainability Synthesis 101 . Overall purpose is to inspire, educate, and train young and mature individuals, businesses big and small, and government agencies to adopt a sustainable way of thinking; thereby improving your own quality of life and prosperity, while leaving a better world for our children.

Credentials Summary:
  • BA and License in Architecture, UFF, Brazil, 1979;
  • MA in Urban and Regional Planning, UCLA, 1984;
  • 20+ years public sector experience in city planning, 13 years in executive management as Community and Economic Development Director;
  • Approx. 5 years owner principal of Sustainable Development & Planning, a sole proprietor,
  • Land use consulting practice with emphasis on “green” projects;
  • Certified as Green Building Professional by Build It Green, 2006;
  • GreenPoint Rater Training, Build It Green, 2008;
  • LEED for Homes – Review, PG&E, 2008.
Special Expertise: Land use planning/design review, transportation and air quality grants,
community development, green building/permit processing, and sustainable decision making. See details below:

Land Use Planning/ Design Review:
Reviewed approximately 1,700 projects during city planning career: Evaluated the environmental, social and economic aspects of each project, via implementation of CEQA, Public Hearings and listening to developers:
  • Projects reviewed varied from single homes to up to 1,500 unit residential subdivisions, I.e. The Spring Ranch Specific Plan in Riverside*1, CA;
  • Projects ranging in size from less than one acre to a 2,000 acre site for 24,000 residents, with commercial and recreation uses. I.e. Irvine Company in Tustin, Orange County;
  • Reviewed/conceptualized commercial projects, from a small City Day Care Center to a large “Town Square” project, a $20 million , 20 acre- mixed-use, public- private partnership, City of Grand Terrace, San Bernardino County;
  • Industrial projects from fueling stations to multi-story award wining industrial buildings;
  • Monitored Environmental Impact Reports for large projects, from industrial oil pipelines to city redevelopment projects. I.e. the Rispin Mansion in the City of Capitola, CA
“The best project is one feasible to the developer and an asset to both, the community and future generations.” A sustainable project balances planet, people and profits. When such a balance is not struck, either due to overriding financial interests, extreme environmental restrictions, or the lack of community participation, the project is usually not welcomed in the community. The project is prone to be the subject to costly litigation, and likely to negatively impact the environment, locally and globally, in the present and/or in the future. When you receive training in sustainable development you get to see the big picture and call forward the best results.

Transportation and Air Quality Grants:
  • Secured $1.6 million dollars for various transportation/air quality projects including:
  • STP planning funds for the I-215 improvements adjacent to the city.
  • Article 3 Grant to completed City Pedestrian/Bike Lane Project connecting inland with coastal trails and improving conditions of city streets and sidewalks;
  • TEA Funds Bike lane grant by CALTRANS and by local SANBAG to construct 6 staging areas and realign road, install hand capped facilities for safe routes to school*2.
  • AB2766 funds grant for Air Quality publication; 4 electric charging stations, and lease of EV-1 for building inspections for 3 years.
  • Tea-21 CMAQ funds for intersection improvements. (City of Grand Terrace, San Bernardino County, 1994-2001)
Community Development:
Conducted needs assessments for city governments and their respective Communities, evaluating resources, long term goals, and limitations. Assisted cities reach the golden balance between environmental integrity, community participation and prosperity, thus improving levels of sustainability.
  • Coalesced different stakeholder interests so that a common sustainable goal could be reached. I.e. in the City of Grand Terrace for instance, the weak link was in the economic sector. The City depended heavily on State Funding, had only a few local businesses. An improved City image with improved streetscape, retention of local business, incubation of small business, and attraction of new businesses became the Community Development program. Businesses in violation with the Municipal Code were sent to the Small Business Development Center, instead of to court.
  • Developed the Strategic Action Plan as a guide to the update of the City General Plan with a Task Force of local representatives; received award from AEP for excellent outreach effort, for getting the community to buy into the new economic development efforts*3.
  • Created a new Economic Development Division, retail target areas, and business niches to focus marketing on; provided grants for facade remodels for local businesses, and conceptualized creation of a downtown.
In the City of Capitola, on the other hand, both, City Hall and the Community lacked in the social aspect to reach the golden balance. In my opinion, staff were overworked and not appreciated. Planning review procedures were not protective of the historic character of the Village; and young people were living town. In terms of City Hall, emphasis on a better hierarchic/priorities of financial and human resources would have improved moral of staff. In terms of the Community, several aspects were missing:
  1. improvement of design review procedures and guidelines to protect the Village character, avoiding the Village to turn into a tourist resort
  2. understanding and marketing all the existing housing programs
  3. devising strategies for the young to be engaged in the community were fundamental in my opinion. Unfortunately, this evaluation was not in line with the strong focus on financial priorities of management and City Council.  Perhaps evidence of such weak social link within City Hall was the high turn over of staff occurring in the following three years to four years. Nonetheless, a few special projects were substantially completed under my direction: The re-organization of the Department and various responsibilities for staff and Consultants; completion of the Depot Hill Design Guidelines*4; a Home Based Business Ordinance; the Housing Element; the Urban Tree Canopy Ordinance; and the Coastal Plan update.
Green Building / Permit Processing/ Project Management:
-- Approximately 25 clients in the last 3 1/2 years with projects ranging from less than 1 to 150 acres
properties with new construction and/or multiple red tags/ development code violations, and issues with State and Federal Agencies, such as the DFG, USACE, Air Quality Control Board.

-- Processing green projects for single family houses illustrating all green building features*5, such as rain harvest, solar, geothermal heating, materials, etc…and incorporating County and Build It Green standards to ultimately obtain a green building seal.

-- Managing projects from conceptualization to permit issuance, involving coordination from 3 to 20+ professional firms per development project, such as engineers, architects, archaeologists, biologists, surveyors, landscape architects, and so forth.

-- Utilizing the PSS for personal, and client’s needs to make sustainable decisions.

-- What, Where, When, For Whom, and how, are important questions to answer when applying the
PSS. This methodology/ template assists in making decisions green and easy, a simple method with great results.

Sustainable Decision-Making for personal, policy making, and business management decisions
-- Although I have been using this decision making methodology or template for long years, for me personally, for my work in City Hall, and later for helping my Land Use Clients, only recently I started marketing the concept to small businesses and government policy makers.  Small business owners have welcomed the results of this application, as they discovered areas in their business that have not been considered and found new solutions for returning personal conflicts.

Next steps: We are now putting together a short video with testimonials- soon to come.  We are also preparing a short video to educate and teach the concept to all interested.  Keep in touch for more exciting news! Check my blog at

Executive Decision Making, Leadership, Motivation, Better Understanding, NGOs and Government Policy

*1,2,3,4,and 5--Portfolio pictures prepared