November 23, 2015

2015 Silver SPUR honoree Jim Lazarus is the senior vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. A former deputy mayor and deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, he has played a key role in good government reforms in San Francisco.

November 23, 2015

Silver SPUR honoree Carol J. Galante ran BRIDGE Housing for 13 years, leading one of California’s largest affordable housing development organizations. Galante served President Obama from 2009-2014 as the Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is now a distinguished professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy at...

November 23, 2015

Silver SPUR honoree Harlan Kelly Jr.,the general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, directs a 2,300-person team to revitalize the city’s water and sewer infrastructure. His leadership in San Francisco government has spanned many departments, where he played a managerial and key civic engineering roles as San Francisco’s City Engineer. 

November 23, 2015

2015 Silver SPUR honoree Leah Shahum led the 10,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for 12 years, building it into one of the strongest advocacy groups in the city, significantly growing the citywide Bike Network and the number of people riding in the city. She is now the director of the Vision Zero Network, advocating nationally for the elimination of all traffic deaths and...

November 5, 2015

The November 2 election was an encouraging sign that San Franciscans are aligned behind one of the key solutions to our affordability crisis: build more housing.

By Susannah Parsons
November 3, 2015

Last November, the City of Berkeley made the news — and history — by becoming the first U.S city to pass a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. Measure D was a significant victory for supporters, winning with 76 percent of the vote despite huge opposition from the American Beverage Association. Now that the tax has been in place since March,...

By Ratna Amin and Graham Pugh
October 28, 2015

The San Francisco Peninsula faces serious transportation challenges. But it wasn’t always jammed with cars. In fact, the Peninsula grew up around rail, in compact and walkable communities. Is this legacy enough to make rail a thriving transportation option for the corridor in the future? In advance of a major SPUR project addressing these issues, we take a look at the history of Peninsula transportation. 

October 27, 2015

Many of the Bay Area's difficulties result from our fragmented system of governance. But this week, there’s an opportunity to help move that system in another direction. On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will vote on whether to combine its planning staff with that of the Association of Bay Area Governments. We think this is the right move for the future of the Bay Area.

by Mark Hogan, Principal, OpenScope Studio and Kristy Wang, Community Planning Director, SPUR
October 26, 2015

Have you ever walked down a San Francisco street  and wondered, "Why aren’t these buildings taller?" If we’re in a housing shortage, why don’t we have six-, ten- and twelve-story residential buildings throughout the city? San Francisco is trying to change this with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program, a proposal to allow an increase in height and allowable...

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
October 26, 2015

San Francisco just upped the ante on what building owners and developers can do to reduce our water deficit (and likely, their own water bills). Changes to the city’s nonpotable water program, approved this month, will provide grant funding for existing buildings to install onsite water treatment and reuse systems — and for buildings to connect to each other and...

By Benjamin Grant
October 21, 2015

The Ocean Beach Master Plan could face a major test this winter if predictions of El-Nino-driven storms come to pass. In previous storm seasons, San Francisco used large piles of boulders to armor the beach, but this degrades beach access and can even accelerate erosion. Based on recommendations from the master plan, the city is looking to weather the coming...

By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
October 15, 2015

In our report The Future of Downtown San Jose, we suggested that the city can bring more people and activity downtown by providing better wayfinding signage and other tools. Since the spring, San Jose’s Office of Economic Development has been working with City ID to lay the groundwork for a permanent wayfinding program downtown. Here’s a preview of where they’re headed. 

By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
October 5, 2015

This fall, multiple jurisdictions, including Santa Clara County and Sacramento, have followed San Francisco’s model and created urban agriculture incentive zones of their own or have taken official steps toward doing so.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Director
September 18, 2015

In September, San Francisco Chief Economist Ted Egan released a report analyzing the impacts of a moratorium on new housing construction in the Mission District. While the rapid changes happening in the Mission neighborhood are real and of grave concern, the report showed that a moratorium on new housing would have many costs and few benefits. 

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
August 18, 2015

San Francisco housing fights may make the headlines, but the median home sales price in the San Jose metropolitan area is the highest in the nation, at $980,000. A new advocacy group launched this year will focus directly on Santa Clara County’s affordable housing issues. SV@Home will advocate for more policies, programs, funding and land for affordable housing in the county. ​

By Veronica Tien
August 11, 2015

Thanks to the threat of sea level rise, prolonged drought and the possibility of natural disaster brought on by climate change, the Bay Area could soon face devastating damage. How can we get ready for climate change before disaster strikes? SPUR invited designers and city planners to discuss lessons learned from the Rebuild By Design competition that helped revitalize the Northeast Coast after Hurricane...

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 Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
July 28, 2015

Our report The Future of Downtown San Jose suggested that the city can bring more people and activity downtown by investing in clearer signage, more real-time information and better wayfinding. With support from the Knight Foundation, San Jose is now taking big steps to make that happen.

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 Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
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.

By Christina Yun
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. 

By Alyssa Kies
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.

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 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.