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How is California 100 inspiring the state’s next century?

Through Policy Innovation

Californians have an incredible capacity for innovation, and there are countless sources for new and exciting ideas that can advance the state in the coming century. California 100 will fund demonstration projects across the state. These projects will focus on trying out and rigorously testing big ideas that have the potential to advance California, but that have not yet been attempted or accomplished at scale.

In addition to demonstration projects, California 100 also aims to bring new voices into the process of policy innovation. Policy expertise can be found not just in our universities and halls of government, but also in our local communities. California 100 will engage in participatory research across the state that generates new, “bottom-up” ways of understanding and measuring progress and success.

Through Research

California 100 will sponsor grants for data-driven and future-oriented research focused on understanding today and planning for tomorrow. This research, in 13 core policy areas, will form the foundation for the initiative’s work. Research will consider how California has gotten to where it is, and will provide scenarios and policy alternatives for what California can become. The work will be led by research institutions across the state with deep subject-matter expertise in government, strong stakeholder relationships, applied knowledge, and imaginative solutions.

Through Advanced Technology

California 100 will develop a thoughtful, long-range strategy to bolster California’s strengths in basic science and advanced technology that maintains and expands its leadership through the next century. It will also seek to ensure that technology and innovation are meaningfully prioritized and incorporated in all aspects of California’s future in a way that respects privacy, equity, and ethical concerns.

Through Engagement

While envisioning California’s future, we need to meet people where they are today—and work with organizations, institutions and intergenerational leaders to think critically and constructively about our state’s future. This means including all Californians, and especially young leaders, in every aspect of our work, and changing hearts and mindsets to build a more vibrant future.

Our future is interconnected. Our focus areas are interrelated.

The work of California 100 will provide a vision and plan for the state, with a focus on thirteen key, interrelated issues that affect people and planet alike, in the next couple of years and decades from now. Research in the following areas will be driven by the state’s leading research institutions and centers of policy innovation:

Advanced Technology

For decades, California has led the nation in research and development, commercialization, and mass adoption of advanced technologies. California’s continued success in the coming century depends critically on maintaining its leadership in advanced technology, while at the same time upholding core values of inclusion, sustainability, and equity.

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

California has long captured the nation’s imagination, from our world-leading entertainment industry to our cultural influences in fashion, music, architecture, technology, and industrial design. California has thriving profit-making and non-profit arts, entertainment and design sectors that support and reinforce one another, and will be critical to our future.


In the 1960s and 1970s, California led the nation in K-12, community college, and undergraduate and graduate education. This educational leadership spawned and supported several generations of innovation in movie-making, agriculture, and aerospace. Today, it seeds innovation in the Internet, energy technology, biotechnology, and nano- technology. California will need to prioritize this sector to remain competitive in the next century.

Economic Mobility, Inequality, and Workforce

Despite its great wealth, California has a very high poverty rate, especially when adjusted for cost of living. Inequality and its consequences (homelessness, crime, poverty, and health problems) create a less fair and livable society. Economic mobility creates hope and optimism about the future.

Energy, Environment and Natural Resources

Much of California’s appeal as a destination for tourism and living depends on its temperate climate and natural beauty. The state also boasts an abundance of natural resources including rich agricultural land, forests, and minerals, but it is a fragile ecosystem with its water, air, and land resources subject to the disturbances and dire effects of climate change.

Federalism and Foreign Policy

California is the world’s fifth-largest economy with significant trade relationships. Yet it exists within the U.S. federal system that provides substantial leeway for action by each of the fifty states, and this latitude for action will be important for California’s continued success in many areas including the environment, education, health care and welfare policy, and even some aspects of immigration policy.

Fiscal Reform

California’s ability to remain a land of equal opportunity for future generations will depend critically on its ability to efficiently cover the cost of essential public goods and services, including physical, educational, and civic infrastructure.

Governance, Media, and Civil Society

Progressive era reforms from a century ago, including direct democracy and nonpartisan local elections offered the promise of citizen control over important decisions from the local to statewide level, but challenges remain.

Health and Wellness

Public opinion polls show that health care has been the major public policy concern of Americans for over a decade. It is simultaneously a major fiscal issue because health spending comprises 18% of the nation’s GDP and about the same percentage of California’s general fund expenditures. Health care access, affordability, and quality are fundamentally important for the well-being of California’s families today and in the next century.

Housing and Community Development

Housing costs in California are a major component of the state’s high cost of living, and they contribute to long commutes, poverty, and homelessness. California needs to deal with housing availability and affordability in order to ensure that its population can live near its workplaces.

Immigrant Integration

California is the national leader on policies that promote immigrant integration, from in-state tuition and financial aid to driver’s licenses and expanded access to health insurance and social services. Immigrants have been important to California’s success and will be in the next century.

Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform

Public safety is the most important function of most local governments, and the level of real or perceived safety affects housing prices, local commerce, and quality of life. Local police departments are under stress from concerns about the broad array of functions that they perform, the inequities in their administration, their lack of accountability, their rising costs, and their large pension obligations. Criminal justice has also become a major state expenditure item as well, with concerns about over- incarceration and the high financial and human costs of corrections.

Transportation and Planning

Even before the opening of the first freeway in the United States, the Pasadena Freeway in 1940, California was a highly mobile culture in love with the automobile. The current highway system dates from the 1950s and 1960s, and it has only slowly been augmented with major mass transit systems in  big California cities. Housing, land-use, transportation, and jobs are inextricably linked, and California’s future requires better planning to better connect housing with jobs, commerce, and amenities.