Land-use impacts health. Control is local. In California, a collaboratively created planning document, called a “general plan” sets forth zoning and planning goals for each city and county that determine how much development will occur, what type of development (eg. single family homes, mixed-use commercial) and where. No state has a public-facing and searchable database of general plans nor means of comprehensively assessing their contents.

Our research team assemble the first such database, covering 471 (of 485) California city-level and all 58 county general plans. Working with California state agencies (the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Housing and Community Development and Air Resources Board) and non-profits (California Environmental Justice Alliance and Communities for a Better Environment), we have developed a portal ( where plans can be queried. This website allows community members, state agencies and planners to rapidly compare across plans, helping to foster transfer of policy and a ‘keeping up with the Jones” attitude in pushing the boundaries of planning.

General Plan Database Portal

This landmark state-level database of general plans is the first for California- and nationally.

Please reach out if you would like collaborate and add your state to the database. We provide our model in open source code for others that wish to comprehensively assess and compare plan contents using machine learning.

For more, please visit: Hack for California, a community of civically-minded data scientists, social scientists, and researchers at UC Davis exploring how open government data can be both leveraged and critiqued towards understanding issues around social justice and equity in California. While our website is under development, see for more information.

Forthcoming publications: