Home

THE LATEST FROM SPUR

Blog April 9, 2015

This month, San Francisco will introduce a new transit map designed to give riders more information at a glance. First exhibited at SPUR in 2014 as part of our exhibition Urban Cartography, the new Muni map makes the complex web of San Francisco’s 82 municipal transit lines far easier to use and understand.

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 15, 2014

For 77 years, the 58,000 tons of steel in the Bay Bridge’s eastern span formed a vital link between Oakland and San Francisco. Now, thanks to the passion of local artists, a significant portion of former Bay Bridge steel will be reincarnated as large-scale public art.  

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.

 
Blog December 3, 2014

When it comes to weighing city policy priorities, parks have historically come up short on the ability to demonstrate their economic value. But San Francisco's open spaces and recreational opportunities are actually worth about $1 billion per year, according to a new report from the Trust for Public Land and the SF Parks Alliance.

Blog December 3, 2014

2014 has been a great year for urbanism. Now is a perfect time to take stock of all we accomplished, with your support. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s what we'll be working on in the new year — and how you can help.

Blog November 25, 2014

More than half of commuters in the Bay Area drive alone to work every day. Similar to most regions, transportation in the Bay Area is the largest source of pollution and the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. But some real progress is being made through local commuter incentives, and now a new program will take them region wide.

Yes on D Sign from Berkeley
Blog November 25, 2014

This election, for the first time ever, a majority of voters in two American cities supported taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley voters passed their measure, while San Francisco's measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, fell short.  The results raise the question: why did Berkeley’s measure do so much better than San Francisco’s? A number of factors were at play.

Blog November 12, 2014

From a regional perspective, there’s one pretty clear outcome of the recent election: Smart growth and infill development won at the ballot box. Across half a dozen measures, Bay Area voters rejected NIMBY-led downzoning, approved height increases in their downtowns, reaffirmed urban growth boundaries and voted against sprawl development.

Article November 11, 2014

There has never been so much data available as there is now. More and more people are using it to make maps that are transforming the way we design, build and understand cities. A new exhibition at SPUR explores how maps are transforming the way we navigate and understand our contemporary urban experience.

Blog November 10, 2014

Knight Foundation’s support for SPUR’s new office in San Jose — a $1.775 million challenge grant over five years — will help catalyze the civic conversation around the city’s urban future. The funding provides a runway as SPUR builds capacity to be the leading civic partner for the City of San Jose as it undertakes the most ambitious growth plan of any American city.

Blog November 10, 2014

Regardless of what happened at the national level, our local elections were full of good news for urbanism. Ballot measures that passed in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland marked major victories for transit, open space and higher minimum wages across the region.

JOIN SPUR

Support SPUR's efforts to create ideas and action for a better city. Join our growing community of urbanists. Take
Action
Photos Join SPUR