Blog

By Zack Dinh
July 29, 2015

Many communities in Marin and Sonoma County grew up around rail. The remnants of this legacy are the walkable downtowns adjacent to former rail stations in many North Bay cities. Now, after decades of hard work by locals, passenger trains will once again connect the North Bay's communities: Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) will begin passenger rail service in December 2016. 

By Alexa Arena and Laura Crescimano
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. 

By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
June 30, 2015

Healthy food incentive programs — which provide low-income families with matching dollars to buy fruits and vegetables — have been gaining traction in policy circles recently. Why the increased attention? Because these programs work. Expanding them in California would significantly improve healthy food access.

By Dylan Pilaar, Erin McAuliff and Ratna Amin
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.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
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.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
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.

By Dylan Pilaar
April 23, 2015

Great design can transform and enhance any user experience. Why, then, is thoughtful design often ignored within our transit systems? SPUR recently held a day of workshops and presentations, sponsored by TransitCenter, to explore the future of design and public transportation.

By Allison Arieff, SPUR Editorial Director
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...

By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
Market Match being used at a farmers' market.  Courtesy of the Ecology Center.
April 6, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture just gave a big shot in the arm to healthy food incentive programs. On April 1, the agency announced $31 million in grants to groups large and small — including three recipients in California — that provide matching dollars to low-income families who use their food assistance benefits to buy fruits and vegetables.

By Jennifer Warburg and Benjamin Grant
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.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
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.

March 17, 2015

Paula Kehoe oversees pivotal water conservation and water resource diversification programs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. With California’s...

March 17, 2015

Jimmy Chiu, Airport Infrastructure Program Director, led both design and construction efforts for the successful implementation of FAA-required runway safety areas at San Francisco International Airport (SFO...

March 17, 2015

The James R. Herman Cruise Terminal Team managed design, financing and project implementation to create a LEED-certified, world-class cruise terminal at Pier 27. The team set priorities, aligned interests...

March 17, 2015

The Family Violence Prevention Team implements new strategies to promote safe communication between parties in child-support cases. Through their work with the Family Violence Initiative, they have facilitated a 16 percent increase in the number of child support cases that are...

By Egon Terplan and Kathryn Mullins
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.

By Jennifer Warburg
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.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
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.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
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.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
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...

By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
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.

By Julienne Christensen
December 17, 2014

The case for extending San Francisco’s Central Subway project to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf got a boost in late November with the release of a new study. The new data will allow the extension to be ranked relative to other transit projects — a necessary step for it to be approved as an addition to the city’s transit system.

By Egon Terplan and Jennifer Warburg
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.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
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 ...

By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
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.

Pages