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Watch the Movie

Growing Beautiful Communities is an independently-produced documentary building upon the themes in Lauren Michele’s book “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32.” Through interviews with policy leaders and planners in transportation and sustainability fields, Growing Beautiful Communities illustrates how the People-Oriented Development (“POD”) concept can be used as a process to not only help California meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals but also to create sustainable communities and beautiful places to live. POD is driven by six main areas explored in the film: Job Growth, Community Schools, Places to Play, Quality Travel, Resource Management, and Housing Diversity. The film depicts how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. The 40 minute documentary was produced in August 2012 by Lauren Michele, mentor to Met Sacramento High School intern Jeremy Gray (Writer/Director/Editor) — on our iPhones! with background “PODtrack” music by Met Sacramento High School student Noah Damiani.

All Proceeds Go to Student Scholarship Fund:

Keepsake DVD and Case for $14.99

Instant Download on Amazon for $9.99

7-Day Instant Rental on Amazon for $1.99

Full Length Documentary


The Trailer


This inspiring documentary film was made here in Sacramento, based on her book that was published last year. Lauren explores the important changes California cities are pursuing to grow greener. Bike lanes, in-fill housing design, more sensible transportation options, etc. are all part of our efforts to live a little lighter, and hopefully a little happier, in our changing cities in the 21st century. Lauren Michele, in my estimation, is both a very smart and progressive thinker and an utterly delightful person.

Mark Nechodom, Director, California Department of Conservation

Get the Book

Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32 was authored and published by Lauren Michele in August 2011. The book is based on her M.S. thesis graduate research at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. It covers five key topics that are necessary for policymakers to understand in order to implement transportation solutions at all levels of government. While state and federal actions have been taken to set new requirements for vehicle efficiency and fuels, tackling travel behavior policies that reduce vehicle-miles-traveled and improve transportation network management is needed if California is to reduce its transportation sector’s 38 percent contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The book explores how the State is setting new policy directions for sustainable living through transportation planning, but outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.

The book is available on-line at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, as well as for loan in the libraries of the State of California’s Department of Transportation, Energy Commission, Air Resources Board, Department of Conservation, and LA Metro’s Transportation Research Library (Transportation Research Board Affiliate). Download free book sample or check out the photos from the Book Release Event!

This book examines California’s transportation planning initiatives since AB 32, with a nuanced eye toward the State’s particular rules, laws, politics, and institutions. Lauren Michele provides insights and lessons for policymakers and practitioners—in California and elsewhere—as they strive to create more sustainable communities and transportation systems.

Dr. Daniel Sperling, Director, Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis

As an author and producer, Lauren Michele has shared her book’s technical research and her film’s “POD” vision with hundreds of University students, emerging professionals, and leading experts — as well as key policy makers across California and Hawai’i  – all of whom are interested in more integrated sustainability planning at the local, regional and state levels of government. Policy in Motion offers services in crafting and implementing transportation plans and regulatory frameworks which work toward complete community sustainability and people-oriented development facilitating access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services.

The lotus flower was chosen as the symbol for Policy in Motion to represent optimism for a sustainable future through transportation policy and the idea that even — just as a lotus — economically, equitably or environmentally distressed communities can surface from muddy waters to create thriving, healthy & beautiful places to live. Each petal represents key community values often under consideration during the transportation planning and policy development process.