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Blog July 20, 2015

Last week urban designer Evan Rose died at the age of 50. He leaves behind an important body of work that will continue to influence cities and the people who plan them. 

Blog July 15, 2015

Amid celebrations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, a third important ruling was largely overlooked — one that could have a profound impact on where affordable housing is built: inner-city neighborhoods or the suburbs. Given significant research on the impact that neighborhoods have on life outcomes, the ramifications of this ruling could be profound.

Blog July 14, 2015

Throughout its nearly century-long history, the Oakland Produce Market has served as the late-night link between rural farms and urban consumers in the East Bay. The oldest American operation of its kind still using original facilities, located in one of Oakland’s oldest neighborhoods, the market is a hidden gem in the historical industrial district near Jack London Square. 

Blog July 7, 2015

There are at least 30,000 square feet of blank walls in downtown San Jose. A new nonprofit organization called the Exhibition District is hatching an ambitious plan to cover them with murals by local artists. The goal is to use public art as an economic engine that can both attract people to downtown and pay artists real wages for their work.

Blog June 29, 2015

Each day, nearly 600,000 commuters cross the bay between San Francisco and the East Bay. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is a given on the Bay Bridge, and BART ridership is at peak capacity. A second transbay rail tube will be essential to solving the crunch, but it will take years, or decades, to complete. Here’s how we can break the logjam in the meantime.

Blog June 24, 2015

Last week, the California Supreme Court released a key ruling that allows cities to require new market-rate housing developments to include homes that are affordable to people with low or moderate incomes. The case that came to the court’s attention was focused on a 2010 City of San Jose ordinance, but the ruling has broader implications for cities across the state.

Blog June 4, 2015

The displacement occurring in the Mission District and elsewhere in San Francisco is indisputably tragic. But we should not be fooled into believing that passing moratoriums on new development is going to solve the city’s affordability crisis. This simply makes housing less available — and makes it likely that more people will be displaced. Here's what we should do instead.

Blog June 2, 2015

In the field of climate change policy, you might think the State of California —arguably home of the world’s most robust policies to reduce greenhouse gases — has got everything covered. And, you’re mostly right. But there’s much more we can do. A new report highlights three ways we can significantly clean up our air by making cleaner energy choices.

Blog May 7, 2015

2014 was the hottest recent year for real estate in downtown San Jose. Hundreds of residential units broke ground in new apartment towers, with several thousand more approved. While high-density housing in the transit-rich downtown is great, the city also needs to keep in mind the long-term availability of land for jobs — specifically sites that can accommodate large office buildings near future BART stations.

White Paper April 29, 2015

San Francisco is poised to channel significant new investment to integrated urban watershed planning and green infrastructure through a planning process called the Urban Watershed Assessment. In partnership with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, SPUR convened an advisory group to ask: What is needed to scale up green infrastructure in San Francisco?

SPUR Report March 31, 2015

The Bay Area’s prosperity is threatened by fragmentation in the public transit system: Riders and decision-makers contend with more than two dozen different transit operators. By integrating our many public transit services so they function more like one rational, easy-to-use network, we have the opportunity to increase transit ridership and make better planning decisions for the future of our region.

Blog March 25, 2015

The Blue Greenway project proposes a 13-mile continuous open space and waterway network along San Francisco's southeastern waterfront. The idea has enormous support, but it has yet to overcome some hurdles, namely a geography that encompasses dozens of sites with dozens of owners. To address these complications, SPUR, the San Francisco Parks Alliance and others partners have kicked off the Blue Greenway Action Plan.

Article March 23, 2015

San Francisco is exploring how accessory dwelling units, also known as in-law apartments, might augment its existing housing supply. Can this once marginal, almost completely invisible housing type help solve San Francisco’s current housing shortage?

Blog March 19, 2015

Headlines are sounding the alarm that California might have only one year of water left. How are water suppliers in the Bay Area responding to our state’s worsening drought? This week SPUR invited a few of the region’s principal water managers to share the outlook from their parts of the Bay Area.

Blog March 4, 2015 Building an iconic, future-oriented city hall in downtown San Jose was a leap toward urbanity. But to truly reap the rewards of density will require more work. Gehl Studio and the Tech Museum of Innovation partnered to survey the existing conditions of the plaza, test a series of prototypes and provide recommendations for animating the space.
Blog March 2, 2015

The Bay Area’s “innovation economy” — i.e., the high-tech sector — is thriving. Though longtime observers are right to wonder when the next crash will happen, the region’s current boom has some fundamental qualities that hint prosperity will continue. This time of expansion is an opportunity to acknowledge some of the challenges associated with economic growth.

SPUR Report February 25, 2015

It is our great pleasure to share with you our 2015 annual report, a look at how SPUR works and the approach we bring to solving urban issues. It is a celebration of city life, as well as a look at the serious challenges cities face and the work SPUR has done this year to address them.

Blog February 20, 2015

Each February, SPUR’s Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee brings together top economists and city staff to forecast what San Francisco’s economy will do in the year ahead. The expertise of independent economists and experts from key sectors — including real estate, hospitality and retail — helps the city develop revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year. Here’s a look at what they see ahead.

Blog February 17, 2015

Last week the San Francisco Planning Commission adopted the 2014 Housing Element. SPUR supports the housing element, but we believe the city needs to do much more to address the housing deficit. At a time when San Francisco is experiencing growth in jobs and residents, the city is not planning, approving and building enough housing. We have five suggestions for how to get things moving.

SPUR Report February 5, 2015

One in 10 adults in the Bay Area struggle to find three meals a day, while more than half of adults are overweight or obese. To meet our basic needs, improve public health and enhance our quality of life, Bay Area residents must have access to healthy food. SPUR recommends 12 actions that local governments can take to improve food access in Bay Area communities.

Blog January 26, 2015

Long before the current housing crisis, SPUR and partners like the SF Housing Action Coalition and Livable City advocated for better planning codes and practices in San Francisco. Paying attention to code may not be as headline-grabbing as placing a measure on the ballot, but it’s a key factor in shaping a city’s development — and San Francisco has made some significant updates recently.

Article January 22, 2015

After years of planning and preparing, we are pleased to announce the launch of a SPUR office in Oakland. It’s a big step for us and, we hope, a big milestone for the region. Joining our offices in San Francisco and San Jose, our new location will help us influence the evolving shape of the Bay Area through in-depth work at the city level.

Blog January 20, 2015

In his fourth inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown gave climate hawks cause to celebrate the new year by proposing an ambitious energy policy agenda that will keep California at the forefront of fighting global warming for more than a decade. Brown called for 50 percent of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Blog January 14, 2015

South of Lake Merritt, a challenging urban environment belies a wealth of assets and amenities that could form the raw material of a welcoming, integrated cultural district. SPUR has been engaged in discussions with the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and its neighbors about ways to shift community experience and perception of the area. 

Blog December 19, 2014

It makes sense for Silicon Valley to have ambitions for world-class transit and great urban places. That’s why extending BART service to the South Bay has been an aspiration for a generation leaders. But getting the next project phase funded has stirred up strong feelings — and provided a reminder of all we need to keep in mind when making decisions about infrastructure investments.

Article December 17, 2014

After a five-year process, San Jose adopted an area plan for Diridon Station — already a major transit hub for the South Bay. With plans for high-speed rail and BART Silicon Valley in the works, the Diridon Station area is set to become one of the state’s most important connection points. The plan's vision for dense mixed-use growth could become a model for transit-oriented development.

Article December 16, 2014

2014 began as the driest year ever recorded in California. It is likely to close out as the fourth driest year in more than a thousand years — even with our recent storms. The worst drought in more than 30 years is forcing the state to reckon with its anachronistic water management system, and to find solutions for this century’s changing climate and growing population.

Article December 16, 2014

Housing affordability is the No. 1 problem in San Francisco and, increasingly, in the other cities of the region. SPUR's approach proceeds from two primary ideas: try many different solutions, and think at the regional scale while acting at the local scale. We take a look at progress made so far — and the work still left to do.

Blog December 12, 2014

In November, planning officials from San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland met to share their progress in implementing Plan Bay Area, the region's long-range vision for transportation and land use planning. How these cities manage future growth will have ramifications for the entire region.

Blog December 10, 2014

After years of legal and financial delays, San Francisco’s three biggest residential projects have taken steps toward becoming reality. Together, they make up most of the proposed housing units in the city’s construction pipelineThe first 88 units at the Hunters Point Shipyard are nearing the end of construction, while Parkmerced and Treasure Island, both stalled by legal action, have prevailed in court.

Blog December 7, 2014

The City of Oakland recently made it easier for urban farmers and gardeners to start new projects. On November 18, the City Council unanimously approved changes to the city planning code that clarifies what types of urban agriculture are allowed in each part of the city and expanded the areas where residents can cultivate crops and produce honey. 

Blog December 3, 2014

Silicon Valley has become one of the most expensive housing markets nationwide, and funding for affordable housing in Santa Clara County has been steadily decreasing or stagnating. Last month the San Jose City Council approved an affordable housing impact fee to be paid by developers. Once it’s fully operational, the program is anticipated to generate between $20 and $30 million per year for affordable housing.

 

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