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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Solutions For Green We also publish California Green Solutions and a series of blogs about healthy living solutions.

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Downtown redevelopment for sustainable living and economics

The construction of Highway 57 in 1972 and the development of new shopping centers drained downtown Brea, California. The decline of the old downtown along Brea Boulevard and nearby residential areas continued through the 1980s until City officials decided to intervene and organized a design charrette in 1989.

The charrette (participatory planning process) resulted in a plan for the city to acquire the land downtown and rebuild it from scratch. Noted for its high level of public participation, residents played an important role in the process thus minimizing opposition to the project and supporting high-quality development.

The area was reborn as the 60-acre Downtown District with a plan for creating a retail-rich, pedestrian-oriented mixed-use district that was developed with assistance from the planning and architecture firm RTKL.

The new downtown is centered around Birch Street Promenade — a pedestrian-friendly two-lane main street perpendicular to Brea Boulevard — located immediately behind a conventional shopping center.

The buildings along Birch Street were designed by different architects and create a varied streetscape with retail, housing above retail, restaurants and movie theaters. The short two-block long Birch Street terminates at an art deco-style building. The other end is six-lane Brea Boulevard, which is lined with major retail anchors that are built to the sidewalk with parking in the rear, ample sidewalks and compact residential development. The City continues to attract high-quality retail development that is consistent with good urban design.

For more information, visit or contact the Economic Development Office at (714) 671-4485.