General Plan

A Plan for Pasadena’s Future

Every city in California has a General Plan, a blue print to guide the future. Pasadena’s General Plan is made up of seven elements listed below.

The City is also pleased to announce the launch of Our Pasadena – Putting the Plan in Motion. This highly anticipated program is a major step toward implementation of the City’s recently updated General Plan that was adopted in 2015.

Our Pasadena will focus on implementation—updating Pasadena’s Zoning Code and establishing neighborhood-specific design and land-use goals for the City’s eight Specific Plans. For more information, visit our website at

General Plan Updates

Every General Plan is unique. To gauge local needs, Pasadena is proud to have a long history of involving thousands of Pasadenans in shaping its General Plan. The Pasadena you see today is a result of that history.

General Plan Elements

Land Use Element


Pasadena’s General Plan Land Use Element is grounded by the following Guiding Principles that cumulatively represent the community’s vision for the future. The Guiding Principles were developed through an extensive program of community outreach and input conducted over a six year period.

  1. Growth will be targeted to serve community needs and enhance the quality of life. Higher density development will be directed away from residential neighborhoods and into the Central District, Transit Villages, and Neighborhood Villages. These areas will have a diverse housing stock, job opportunities, exciting districts with commercial and recreational uses, and transit opportunities. New development will build upon Pasadena’s tradition of strong sense of place, great neighborhoods, gardens, plazas, parks, and trees.
  2. Pasadena’s historic resources will be preserved. Citywide, new development will be in harmony with and enhance Pasadena’s unique character and sense of place. New construction that could affect the integrity of historic resources will be compatible with, and differentiated from, the existing resource.
  3. Pasadena will be an economically vital city by providing jobs, services, revenues, and opportunities. A diverse economic base with jobs for Pasadena residents will be fostered; existing businesses will be encouraged to stay or expand; affordable housing will be provided for the labor pool; the continued fiscal health of the city will be ensured.
  4. Pasadena will be a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable community. Safe, well designed, accessible and human-scale residential and commercial areas will be provided where people of all ages can live, work and play. These areas will include neighborhood parks, urban open spaces and the equitable distribution of public and private recreational facilities; new public spaces will be acquired. Human services will be coordinated and made accessible to those who need them.
  5. Pasadena will be a city where people can circulate without cars. Specific plans in targeted development areas will emphasize a mix of uses, pedestrian activity, and transit; public and private transit will be made more available; neighborhood villages and transit villages will reduce the need for auto use.
  6. Pasadena will be a cultural, scientific, corporate, entertainment and education center for the region. Long-term growth opportunities will be provided for existing institutions; a healthy economy will be fostered to attract new cultural, scientific, corporate, entertainment and educational institutions.
  7. Community Participation will be a permanent part of achieving a greater city. Citizens will be provided with timely and understandable information on planning issues and projects; citizens will directly participate in shaping plans and policies for Pasadena’s future.
  8. Pasadena is committed to public education and a diverse educational system responsive to the broad needs of the community.



Pasadena envisions a more livable and economically strong city that views Pasadena as “a community where people can circulate without cars.” The vision relies upon an integrated and multimodal transportation system that provides choices and accessibility for everyone living and working in the City.

Adopted Mobility Element 2015-08-18



California law requires that cities develop housing programs to address existing and future housing needs in their respective communities. To comply with state law and provide housing opportunities for residents, the City of Pasadena prepares a housing element. The Housing Element is a state mandated chapter of the Pasadena General Plan and is intended to address the production, maintenance, and improvement of housing. The current Housing Element covers an eight-year planning period from 2014 to 2021.

The City of Pasadena has long been at the forefront of housing policies and programs, not only in the San Gabriel Valley but also in southern California as a whole. In 2000, Pasadena was one of the first communities to develop a housing vision that expresses its commitment to housing its residents:

All Pasadena residents have an equal right to live in decent, safe and affordable housing in a suitable living environment for the long-term well-being and stability of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and their community. The housing vision for Pasadena is to maintain a socially and economically diverse community of homeowners and renters who are afforded this right.

This City Council adopted the 2021-2029 Pasadena Housing Element on July 18, 2022.

Please contact the Community Planning Section at (626) 744-4009 if you have questions about the Housing Element.

Green Space, Recreation and Parks


The Green Space, Recreation and Parks Element and Master Plan are the result of a three year effort to determine the community’s goals and objectives for open space, parks, and recreation facilities and programs. The Element and Master Plan work together to identify existing facilities and programs, assess how they are used, identify where additional park facilities or recreation programs are needed, and recommend how to best meet these needs.

The key recommendations of the documents are to:

  • Increase connectivity between local trails and regional trails
  • Acquire additional parks and open spaces, particularly in the identified “gap areas”
  • Increase cooperation and joint use of school facilities with the Pasadena Unified School District
  • Address deficits in sports fields and recreational facilities through improving existing facilities, acquiring additional facilities, and pursuing joint use of school facilities

Together with the Open Space and Conservation Element, the Green Space, Recreation and Parks Element & Master Plan serve as a framework of goals and policies to assure efficient stewardship of the City’s green spaces, recreation facilities, and natural resources

Open Space and Conservation


The Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan was adopted by the City Council on January 23, 2012.  The Open Space and Conservation Element provides a blueprint for natural open space and conservation.  The element is guided by the following vision statement which informs the goals, objectives and implementation measures:

Pasadena treasures, protects, restores, and expands its natural open space and exemplifies innovative and effective natural resource stewardship and conservation.

Together with the Green Space, Recreation and Park Element and Master Plan, the Open Space and Conservation Element serves as a framework of goals and policies to assure efficient stewardship of the City’s green spaces, recreation facilities, and natural resources.

General Plan Open Space and Conservation Element – 2012
Open Space Inventory
Open Space Plan – Appendix 1 – Element Requirements
Open Space Plan – Appendix 2 – Glossary
Open Space Plan – Appendix 3 – Open Space Inventory Summary
Open Space Plan – Appendix 4 – Open Space Criteria
Open Space Plan – Appendix 5 – Community Outreach
Open Space Plan – Appendix 6 – Residential Impact Fee



The General Plan Noise Element, which is required by State law, provides policy-level direction for the City to limit people’s exposure to noise. The City of Pasadena has updated its Noise Element, which was last revised in 1985. The Noise Element update represents the discussion and concerns of local stakeholders about noise in Pasadena. The goals, policies, and implementation measures of the Noise Element are the result of input from residents, community stakeholders, technical analysis, and an evaluation of existing and future land use patterns.

The Noise Element is reflected in two documents below.

The latter document is the City’s updated Noise Element. Potential noise sources identified include vehicles traveling along primary arterials, aircraft, the new light rail “Gold Line,” commercial activities, recreational activities and special events in the Central Arroyo, the Eaton Canyon Firing Range, and nuisance noise. Objectives, policies, and implementation measures are identified to minimize noise to the extent possible.

Please contact the Community Planning Section at (626) 744-4009 if you have questions about the Noise Element.

Existing and Future Conditions Report
Pasadena Noise Element Policy



Seismic safety consists of identification and appraisal of seismic hazards such as susceptibility to surface ruptures from faulting, ground shaking, and ground failures and the design of policies and programs to minimize their impact on present and future development.

The objective of the Safety portion of this section is to promote a secure environment for Pasadena residents and to reduce loss of life, injuries, damage to property, and economic and social dislocation resulting from tire and geologic occurrences.

General Plan Safety Element
General Plan Safety Element Technical Background Report
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan