Balboa Park

This incubator is designed to welcome browsing for good ideas.


Each Great Model included in this incubator highlights exemplary practices and ideas from a California General Plan. The Great Models come from the General Plans of cities and counties, large and small. They are peer-reviewed by California Planning Roundtable members to ensure their quality and that we are bringing the commendable parts of these General Plans to your attention.

A Catalog of Great Models gives a quick overview of each of our current models. On the catalog page, users can also browse by tags to find models that are relevant to their type of community and/or concerns. This is more than just a list of good General Plans. Our goal is to delve into these Plans, specifically pinpointing their most innovative and compelling features.

The Great Models themselves are in a tab-based format for easy navigation. The first tab, called “Context”, is common to each Model. Laying out the particulars of the jurisdiction and the Model, this tab pays special attention to the local challenges and opportunities that surrounded the creation of the Plan.

The next one to three tabs highlight the most impressive features of each Great Model—the things that made us say “Wow!” Though these tabs are different for every Model, they all contain links and images that connect the user directly to the specific documents, graphics, and policies that contribute to the Reinvention of the General Plan.

All Models also contain a “Challenges and Lessons” tab, which allows us to frankly assess, in consultation with local planning staff, what could have worked better in the planning process. Our goal here is not to diagnose “failures” of planning, but to proactively recognize how to avoid these major obstacles, so that communities that want to incorporate the great features we've highlighted can plan for the challenges they may face.

Finally, each Model contains a “Background Information” tab, with specific details on demographics, project costs, timetables, regional integration, and a number of other subjects. In addition, a printable version of each Great Model can be downloaded for offline use. This report contains all the same text and links as the models on the website.

When possible, we directly link users to these exemplary maps, images, text and ideas. Ultimately, this incubator is a place where individuals and communities can find specific guidance to transform their thinking and help them produce General Plans that achieve better vision, communication, and action.

Emerging Tools

The Emerging Tools page of this incubator showcases noteworthy features from General Plan efforts in California. While the Great Models featured through this incubator focus on the General Plans themselves, Emerging Tools are procedures, methods, or processes that assist, lead to, or implement General Plans. Emerging Tools can take a variety of forms, such as outreach materials, implementation tools, and monitoring devices. Some Emerging Tools can be from completed General Plan efforts that are not one of the models in this incubator, or can be one piece of a General Plan that is still in development. Emerging Tools can represent new forms of planning, or can be noteworthy examples of tried-and-true methods.


The incubator includes a set of principles for the reinvented California General Plan. The principles are designed to enable creative, vision-based plans that are attainable and substantive.


The incubator features a blog maintained by members of the California Planning Roundtable. The blog explores concepts in planning and highlights recent developments in the Reinventing the General Plan project.

How to Contribute to the Website

There are many great examples of General Plans in California, and we will not be able to address them all ourselves. So, we are inviting our readers to participate in further developing this incubator website. You can suggest Great Models for us to develop, or you can create your own content using our Protocol. All contributors will work with one of our members to help ensure the process goes smoothly, and submitted Great Models will be peer-reviewed before posting. You can only contribute to the website by submitting an emerging tool or writing an entry for the blog. For more information or to suggest a model, emerging tool, or blog entry, please fill out the form located here.