Housing in all the Wrong Places

Aerial view of the flooded Mowry Village site

The Bay Area is experiencing a desperate housing crisis. But instead of building safe, dense housing on infill sites, as many experts recommend, yet another city is attempting to build on a toxic flood-zone.

The proposed “Mowry Village” site in Newark lies in a designated FEMA floodplain with a high risk of liquefaction on a known toxic site containing heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. There could hardly be a worse place for people to live.

Accelerated sea level rise and groundwater rise in the coming years make it inevitable that the area will flood, inundating roads, blocking emergency access, and spreading hazardous waste into neighborhoods and the Bay.

Together, we joined community and environmental partners to urge Newark to perform a more thorough and long-term assessment of the site’s pollution, flood, and environmental vulnerabilities.

There are ways to build housing that is beneficial for the community and the environment. But Mowry Village would be hazardous for both.

Pictured: High tide at the site of the proposed Mowry Village, which regularly floods and has high levels of toxic waste from an active industrial facility (visible in the center).