Blog

Mike Jacobson, SPUR Front Desk Ambassador
February 9, 2016

The India Basin Waterfront Planning and Design aims to transform San Francisco's India Basin shoreline into a unique waterfront park.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
January 21, 2016

Listening to some San Francisco advocates, it’s easy to get the impression that the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program will dramatically alter the city overnight. But this ignores two key factors. First, the program has been very thoughtfully crafted to add housing without displacing anyone. Second, the length of the building cycle means these changes will happen gradually, over two decades or more.

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
January 19, 2016

The Bay Area is on the cusp of the biggest change in regional planning in decades. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have just begun a study into how they might merge. Our editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle explains why this is the right move for the region. 

By Ratna Amin and Graham Pugh
December 18, 2015

Both Caltrain and highways on the Bay Area Peninsula are more crowded than ever. Will we solve the area’s transportation challenges in the future — or will things only get worse? SPUR is working with a group of partners to shape a vision for the Peninsula travel corridor. We believe passenger rail and other transit can be the backbone of the solution.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
December 16, 2015

In 2012, the voters of San Francisco passed Proposition C, a consensus measure that created a $1.2 billion set-aside for affordable housing while also reducing the on-site inclusionary housing requirement, which obliges developers of market-rate housing to build some affordable units on the same site. Now some city leaders are revisiting whether the measure asked enough from developers.

December 9, 2015

2015 has been a significant year for SPUR. We officially became a regional organization, with offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. By helping to coordinate policy and planning work across the region, we can make much greater progress on our goals. But we can't do it without your help. We hope you'll consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. 

Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
December 3, 2015

The BART Silicon Valley extension is the largest transportation investment the South Bay will make for decades. Phase I of the extension is under construction and scheduled to start service in the fall of 2017. Now the Santa Clara VTA and many others must answer the question: Where will the money for Phase II come from?

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 Bay Area 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 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 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 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.

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