On December 20, the California Supreme Court upheld the legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies. Each city now needs to figure out how to do what has been traditionally been done with redevelopment funds. What does this surprising turn of events mean for the urbanist agenda in California?
I very much appreciate reading Professor Rich DeLeon’s response to my article on the recent municipal elections in San Francisco. Thank you to SPUR for encouraging this dialogue – I think the “author meets critic” format is a good one for instigating a reasoned and analytic debate.
Professor Corey Cook’s article in the December 2011 Urbanist assesses San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting (RCV) system in the 2011 mayoral election.
Starting a garden or farm in San Francisco just got a little bit easier. Pulling together the most recent changes to city laws, the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance recently released a guide to the regulations for growing and selling food within San Francisco.
The guide covers a host of topics including:
SPUR is pleased to issue a call for applicants for a twelve-week fellowship in the summer of 2012. The Piero N. Patri Fellowship in Urban Design is a hands-on position for a current graduate student or 2010/2011 graduate in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture or a related field. The fellowship provides the opportunity to gain firsthand experience working in the urban design and planning field on a project that will have a positive impact on the city of San Francisco and the...
Ever the pioneer in the political process, California is once again experimenting with its democracy, this time with new approach to helping the public understand reform proposals. Conducted earlier this year, the What’s Next California Project is California’s first state-wide deliberative poll, in which a random sample of the population is polled on important public-policy issues, then gathers to discuss them and is polled again. Is this the...
This is a time of significant flux in the Bay Area’s regional planning landscape. There is a serious proposal in the California State Legislature to change the way the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is governed and increasing talk about whether it and other regional agencies can play a stronger role in economic development.
Urban animal husbandry, though nothing new, is a cause for concern for many people – especially planners. Chickens, rabbits, bees and goats conjure up nightmares of odors, noises and animal cruelty. When Oakland’s planning department held a meeting to discuss changes to urban agriculture regulations, nearly 300 people showed. Like many other jurisdictions nationwide, the city is proceeding cautiously as it updates its animal regulations.
In San Francisco, traffic planners are reversing the outdated, 20th-century strategy of engineering downtown streets into multi-lane, one-way motorways.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission took two steps in support of urban agriculture at a recent meeting. The first step was making it easier for community gardeners and urban farmers to install new water hookups at their sites. Currently, the price of a new water meter installation is approximately $8,500.
At this year's Silver SPUR Awards Luncheon, SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf reflected on the contrasts between what he called "the totally dysfunctional state of our country right now and the remarkably functional state of our city and region." We are at a moment in history, he says, where solutions to the big problems are not coming out of Washington — they’re coming out of action at the local and regional level.
Watch the speech:
In January 2012, we will launch SPUR San Jose, a pilot project to extend our research, education and advocacy to the South Bay's largest city. SPUR San Jose Director Leah Toeniskoetter reports on the city's new Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan. The big idea in the plan is to create urban villages, specific areas that will provide active, walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban settings for new housing and job growth.
Outside of the much-discussed mayor’s race, there were some important items on the ballot this year, and voters appear to have ignored the noise and focused on the business at hand. Here's our take on the election results, and an analysis of how SPUR's recommendations fared in the final count.
In late October, SPUR shared with the public a set of draft recommendations for the Ocean Beach Master Plan, a long-range vision for managing coastal erosion, infrastructure, access and ecology on San Francisco’s western coast. Of the six big ideas in the draft, here are two that propose the most significant — and most exciting — changes to streets, public spaces and coastal management at Ocean Beach.
The Bay Area is in the midst of a major planning initiative to identify where to grow and how to allocate scarce transportation dollars over the next 30 years. City agencies have been consulted in the development of the Sustainable Communities Strategy, but recently they got a chance to respond publicly to the plan and raise concerns about its three proposed growth scenarios. SPUR agrees with much of the city’s response, but we differ on a few key points. Namely, we believe San...
Dale Minami has served as a Bay Area attorney for four decades, garnering nationwide recognition for his civil rights leadership in the process. A personal injury attorney with Minami Tamaki LLP by practice, Dale has made substantial contributions to the advancement of Asian-American rights. He helped found the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Bar Association, both the first of their kind in the United States.
Rick Laubscher is most well known for his transformative impact on Market Street’s historic streetcars, but his transportation advocacy and commitment to San Francisco’s important historic treasures extends well beyond the Market Street Railway. A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Rick and his family have long been engaged in the vibrant life of Market Street.
Art Gensler is a business visionary who has transformed the industry of architecture and design through his entrepreneurial creativity and leadership. In 1965, he co-founded Gensler, a San Francisco architecture and design firm, now a 3,000-person firm with 30 offices worldwide. A Cornell University graduate, Art is on the Advisory Council of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
Natalie Berg, Ed.D., has influenced San Francisco as an educator, civic leader and land use consultant. In her 30 plus years at City College of San Francisco she has served as a professor, dean and most recently as an elected member and president of the Board of Trustees.
What’s the best way to revitalize Central Market? There isn’t one way, but many — and they all need to be coordinated with one another. While this sounds like an answer that Yoda might offer, we hope that the folks at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OWED) don’t have to rely on the Force alone to help finalize the Central Market Economic Strategy. The strategy is full of good ideas — and all will need substantial political support in order to be...
Many of us in the Bay Area felt a series of sharp tremors on October 20 and 21 — coincidentally the same day that Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted would bring the Apocalypse. It might not be time for the Rapture just yet, but we do know the Big One is coming, and we want our buildings to be prepared. Fortunately, Mayor Ed Lee has released the first draft of San Francisco's Earthquake Safety Implementation Program.
At three in the morning, a four-block stretch of Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview neighborhood is abuzz with business. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, which is busiest during the graveyard shift, is a hidden hub of San Francisco’s fresh food system.