Blog

Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
Fort Mason Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Flickr user greychr
May 5, 2014

After many months of planning, San Francisco’s new urban agriculture program launched in January. The program, designed to coordinate and increase the city’s support for city farmers and gardeners, recently released details about its first year priorities.

By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
May 1, 2014

SPUR recently hosted a charrette to look at how we can make the region’s array of transit operators function more like one clear, understandable system. Transit operators, regional planners, transporation experts and private transportation providers gathered to share what they've learned and where the opportunities lie.

By Keith Tanner
April 22, 2014

As California grapples with one of its worst droughts in recorded history, many in the Bay Area are wondering what should be done to ensure that we have sufficient water. Luckily, water agencies in our region are already leading the way on innovative approaches to reduce demand by fostering water conservation and efficiency. Here's what's working.

By Julia Chang and Alyssa Kies
April 9, 2014

Regional transit projects planned for San Jose's Diridon Station could make it one of the Bay Area’s most important transit and development hubs — if the area around it is planned well. The city has released a draft version of its Diridon Station Area Plan, which will shape the future of the area. SPUR has reviewed the plan and made a number of important recommendations.

By María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
April 7, 2014

After years of planning, the Santa Clara–Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project broke ground on Friday, March 21. This is the first of three BRT lines that the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is developing in the South Bay — and the first BRT line in the Bay Area, pulling ahead of planned projects in San Francisco and the East Bay.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
April 7, 2014

Across California, communities have started food policy councils so that local advocates for food producers and consumers can work together to improve the food system. Earlier this year, a coalition of these groups published an analysis of legislators’ voting records on 10 different food and agriculture bills.

Maria Bakali, Ocean Beach Project Intern
April 1, 2014

After a 20-year public process, a project to convert a landslide-prone portion of Highway 1 into a multi-use coastal trail is finally complete. The new Devil's Slide Trail welcomes hikers, cyclists, horse riders and dog walkers. With its similarities to erosion-damaged sections of the Great Highway, Devil's Slide offers a model for implementing some of the recommendations in SPUR’s Ocean Beach Master Plan.

March 19, 2014

SPUR’s 34th annual Good Government Awards recognized the City of San Francisco’s Legal Educational Advocacy Program Team for improving educational outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system  and curbing the cycle of young people who go back into the system.

March 19, 2014

SPUR’s 34th annual Good Government Awards recognized Lisa Wayne as the lead architect and visionary of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Natural Areas Program.

March 19, 2014

SPUR’s 34th annual Good Government Awards recognized San Francisco’s Douglas Legg for ushering in DPWStat, a tool that has improved management of construction schedules, street cleaning, building and sidewalk repairs, and graffiti removal.

March 19, 2014

SPUR’s 34th annual Good Government Awards recognized Zoon Nguyen for rolling out the San Francisco assessor-recorder’s electronic system, increasing regular assessments and helping the city issue 500 marriage licenses in one weekend after the federal court announced the resumption of same-sex marriages.

March 19, 2014

SPUR’s 34th annual Good Government Awards recognized San Francisco’s Fire Rim Emergency Response Team for its quick, collaborative and strategic response to the 2013 Rim Fire, the third largest wildfire in California history.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
March 2, 2014

Despite the inches of rain that fell in February, California’s farmers and ranchers are still facing a severe drought. Mother Jones magazine recently published an infographic that clearly illustrates the link between the lack of rain and the state’s agricultural economy. What it conveys is that this is going to be a hard year for farmers and ranchers in California, with nationwide ripple effects.

By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
February 27, 2014

Earlier this month, San Francisco’s leading economists met to predict the future. Each year, SPUR’s Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee brings together city staff and independent economic experts from sectors including real estate, hospitality and retail. This year’s Annual Economic Briefing illuminated several key economic trends impacting the city this year.

By Benjamin Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
February 21, 2014

Why not address the Bay Area’s housing crisis — caused by a surge of new jobs without an equivalent increase in new housing — at its source? Alfred Twu’s fantastical renderings imagine Silicon Valley corporate campuses like Google, Apple and Facebook as complete cities, their parking lots packed with enough housing to accommodate their entire workforces.

By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
February 20, 2014

A few billion dollars of transportation projects are converging in San Francisco: the electrification of Caltrain, the extension of Caltrain’s route to the Transbay Transit Center and the arrival of high-speed rail. How can we make sure these transportation investments improve San Francisco's urban environment rather than disrupt it? To find out, the city is launching a major study.

January 30, 2014

We are launching a one-week membership drive with a goal of 100 new members. We're offering a special introductory annual rate of $50 — a 33 percent discount. We'll also be raffling off prizes all week, so make sure you're following us on Twitter for the latest updates.

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
January 30, 2014

From President Obama’s State of the Union speech to local policy initiatives, there’s been a lot of attention lately on wage inequality and the shrinking middle class. As part of a major SPUR initiative, a group of Bay Area pilot projects will tackle these issues head on.

By Molly Schmidt and Eli Zigas
Canned goods being delivered at a food bank
January 28, 2014

While San Francisco is a city that celebrates food, it's also home to many who struggle to get three complete meals a day. Between 100,000 and 225,000 residents have incomes that put them at risk of food insecurity. Two new reports show that even with collaboration among government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector, there are still many hurdles to overcome in addressing food insecurity.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
January 15, 2014

2013 was one of the driest years on record, and 2014 is not off to a great start either. As we head into a third dry year, water conservation is more important than ever — and so is preparing for future uncertainty in our water supply by investing in reliable, sustainable supplies, as recommended in SPUR's report Future-Proof Water.

By María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
December 11, 2013

Two big lease deals in downtown San Jose indicate that the city center’s underappreciated assets may be proving attractive to those seeking more urban workplaces in Silicon Valley. Why did these two tenants choose downtown over other nearby competitors? Four reasons: access to transit, urban amenities, real estate costs and a responsive government.

December 3, 2013

Now is a perfect time to take stock of all the great things that have happened this year, with your help. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s how you can help.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
December 2, 2013

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.

By Michael King and Jeffrey Tumlin
November 13, 2013

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.

By Egon Terplan and Imron Bhatti
November 5, 2013

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.

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