Welcome to SPUR’s new website!Now you can find news and events for both of our locations in one handy place. Use the buttons throughout the site to search for information on San Francisco, San Jose or All Cities.
THE LATEST FROM SPUR
San Francisco’s school meals could look quite a bit different in the coming years. That’s the overarching theme of a report that the San Francisco Unified School District released in September, laying out a long-term vision for the future of the district's school meals program, which currently serves 22,000 lunches and 5,500 breakfasts each day.
Silicon Valley, the most dynamic and innovative economic engine in the world, is not creating memorable urban places. The City of San Jose's ambitious new General Plan imagines a dramatic shift away from traditional suburban environments to walkable “complete neighborhoods.” SPUR looks at the impediments San Jose has faced in creating excellent, walkable urban places and recommends changes that will help meet the city's goals.
Streets are different than highways, yet the United States delegates authority for all roadway design to a private nonprofit made up largely of highway engineers. And unfortunately, many of the principles that make for safe highways make for dangerous, dysfunctional urban streets. But a new manual released this fall, the Urban Street Design Guide, could change all this.
The majority of the world’s population now resides in cities. This presents great challenges — and great opportunities for making a better world. Our annual report explores the potential of cities to solve the problems of our time. We invite you to learn more about the work we did this year in support of this vision.
A little over one-third of the Bay Area workforce earns $18 per hour or less. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, it’s important to move many of these workers to higher paying jobs. This posts looks at what these jobs are, how many of them there will be in the coming years, and the skills and education levels they require.
Many middle-income jobs have been lost since the economic meltdown and the competition for the jobs that remain leave low- and moderate-wage workers competing with people who have more experience and education. In this post, we focus on specific barriers affecting low- and moderate-wage workers.
After a grueling recession and a long period of underbuilding, construction is making a vigorous comeback in San Francisco: The SF Planning Department reports more than 6,000 new units under construction. The backlash, however, comes in the form of rising rents— exacerbating unaffordability in what was already one of the country's least affordable cities.
Middle-wage jobs are becoming scarcer as more and more job growth takes place at the high and low ends of the wage spectrum. How can we create opportunity for low-wage workers to move up? Past efforts to address this issue have sometimes emphasized the differences between workers in different wage groups. But this often masks the specific information needed to solve the challenge.
Many cities around the world have incentives and even regulations requiring green roofs in new construction. San Francisco lags substantially behind others such as Portland, New York, Chicago and Toronto in both green roof policy and in on-the-roof implementation. This memo asks what can be done to support the development and broader implementation of green roofs in San Francisco.
My friends keep moving to Oakland. Gone from San Francisco for greener pastures and cheaper rents, because it’s just gotten too hard, by which I really mean too expensive. Their move signals that something has gone terribly wrong in this most progressive of American cities.
Since rolling out on August 29, Bay Area Bike Share has logged an estimated 21,138 bicycle trips and 4,380 casual members. Not bad for a pilot program. But in order for it to last — and grow — it’s important to ask how we can translate this initial success into a long-term one. The future of the program faces two immediate issues: how to fund it and how to make it work at its unique regional scale.
Climate scientists have raised concerns that the latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is "too conservative," referring to its lowered projections on the range of future warming based on a slight lack of temperature increase over the last decade. Despite this possibly encouraging bit of news, the IPCC's fifth major assessment continues to report unequivocal warming due to human causes.
Earlier this year a new ordinance requiring energy audits for existing commercial buildings in San Francisco went into effect. The audits identify upgrades a property owner can make to improve overall building efficiency. So far, the first 195 building audits have identified 32 gigawatt-hours of potential annual energy savings, with a value of $6 million. With thousands more audits slated to happen over the next two years, what kind of savings might we expect to see from this simple reporting requirement?
One of the biggest challenges urban farmers face is access to land. Signed into law on September 28, the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act — introduced by Assembly Member Phil Ting and supported by more than 25 organizations across the state — will increase the use of privately owned, vacant land for urban agriculture and improve land security for urban ag projects.
Four city measures appear on the San Francisco ballot on November 5, 2013. As we do before every election, SPUR researched and analyzed each one. Read on for our in-depth analysis and recommendations on: prescription drug pricing, a retiree health care trust fund and proposed waterfront housing development 8 Washington.
As BART ridership continues to grow much faster than expected, the agency is exploring ways to increase capacity and improve service. The study currently underway, called BART Metro Vision, looks to when BART would serve more than double today's ridership, and works to measure which investments will deliver the most benefits to Bay Area rail transit.
This month the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) unanimously approved the final environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) for the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project. When finished in the spring of 2018, the BRT line will serve the two miles on Van Ness Avenue from Lombard Street to Mission Street.
The City of San Francisco has embarked on an ambitious plan to re-envision the troubled San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA). SFHA is a federally recognized public corporation with a commission appointed by the local government and a mission to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income people.
In the June issue of The Urbanist, we explored the idea of removing Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco in order to reconnect the Mission Bay and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. This summer, the Center for Architecture presented a design competition to consider what might happen next. Here’s a look at the winning entries and the ideas they propose for transforming this urban barrier into a healthy neighborhood connection.
In connection with our current exhibition, SPUR is thrilled to announce The Museum of the Phantom City: Unbuilt San Francisco, a free phone app that brings lost treasures of architecture and planning into contemporary life.
The northeast neighborhoods of San Francisco — North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf and the edges of Chinatown — have some of the city’s highest densities of residents, workers and tourist activities. Yet there are currently no major plans to increase transit capacity serving the area. SPUR convened a community workshop to assess transit needs in these neighborhoods.
The word “infrastructure” connotes things like pipes, conduits, steel and concrete, but when it comes to solving urban water management challenges, there are a growing number of solutions that are equally engineered yet more nature-based. While “grey” or traditional infrastructure remains an essential part of safe and effective design for flood control and urban watershed management, it is no longer the only tool in the toolbox.
The San Jose Flea Market hosts one of the country’s most extensive collections of items for sale, building upon San Jose’s legacy as a city of many people and cultures. The flea market opened in 1960 with 20 vendors brought together by George Bumb, a man with a vision to sell usable items that he saw being sent to landfills. Since then it has grown to become the largest continuous flea market in the nation, welcoming 4 million visitors a year.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given the green light for the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) to take the lead coordinating the city’s support of urban agriculture. Among SPUR's recommended priorities for this program are developing a strategy to reduce community garden waiting lists and operating as a "one-stop-shop" for the people seeking assistance with urban agriculture projects.
San Francisco is a city celebrated for its progressive history, distinctive architecture and phenomenal geography. We believe it is critical to protect the historic fabric of the city, while supporting growth and change in the right locations. In this report, we describe how to fully integrate preservation into the city's processes for land use planning.
For a group like SPUR — one that works to promote transit, walking and biking as primary forms of mobility — there’s no question that a transit strike is a major setback. It instills in people the sense, consciously or unconsciously, that they cannot count on transit being there when they need it.
The San Francisco Housing Authority is in crisis. As a recent San Francisco legislative analyst and budget report notes, the agency had a budget short fall of $4 million in fiscal year 2011 and $2.6 million in 2012. Meanwhile, it does not have nearly enough funding to meet its capital needs. SPUR offers recommendations to help the agency become financially sustainable over the long term.
In the past few years, there's been a lot of attention on income inequality and the shrinking middle class, particularly as job growth nationally has remained sluggish. Despite an economic boom in the Bay Area, many workers are still struggling. SPUR is part of a new initiative to identify ways we can increase economic opportunity at the local and regional level.
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