Blog

by Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
February 24, 2012

As the economy struggles to recover in the Bay Area, what are the prospects for city revenues in San Francisco? City budget staffers and experts on the local economy gathered at the 2012 Annual Economic Briefing, hosted by SPUR's Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee, to discuss regional trends and projections for the city’s major revenue streams. The upshot: Our experts are starting to see some good news on the horizon. Unemployment has finally begun to decline, and San Francisco...

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
February 22, 2012

Can you make a living selling what you grow in a city?

That’s a question a number of urban farming entrepreneurs have been working to answer in the past few years, and initial numbers are beginning to become public.

February 1, 2012

Members-only walking tours are one of the great benefits of joining SPUR. Tour leaders such as planners, architects, elected officials and other insiders spend a few hours with us, sharing their expert lens on our region. Want to know what's in store for 2012? Our new calendar of spring tours and other events is now online.

By Sam LaTronica
January 25, 2012

How can a rich historical space welcome visitors and new community members while ensuring that it continues to work for current residents? This question is central to the future of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Stockton Street, one of the busiest corridors in the city, must decide how to accommodate additional growth and change in the coming years. To address these concerns while maintaining affordable housing, transit equity, pedestrian safety and a sense of community, SPUR and the...

by Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director
January 24, 2012

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?

By Corey Cook*
January 6, 2012

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.

By Rich DeLeon*
January 6, 2012

Professor Corey Cook’s article in the December 2011 Urbanist assesses San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting (RCV) system in the 2011 mayoral election.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
January 3, 2012

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:

December 21, 2011

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...

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
December 19, 2011

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...

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
December 15, 2011

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. In early December, SPUR testified at both a state senate hearing and at the Bay Area’s Joint Policy Committee about economic development and the role...

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
December 5, 2011

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, animal cruelty and more.

By Aaron Bialick
December 1, 2011

In San Francisco, traffic planners are reversing the outdated, 20th-century strategy of engineering downtown streets into multi-lane, one-way motorways.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
November 28, 2011

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.

November 21, 2011

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:
 

by Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
November 17, 2011

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.

by Ben Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
November 16, 2011

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.

By Corey Cook, University of San Francisco
November 3, 2011

In the weeks leading up to the November 8 election, San Franciscans find themselves up to their necks in news articles (from the Chronicle, the Mercury News and even The Economist) about our ranked-choice voting (RCV) system and how the tallying of...

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director, and Aaron Bialick, SPUR intern
November 2, 2011

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...

November 1, 2011

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.

November 1, 2011

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.

November 1, 2011

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.

November 1, 2011

 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.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
October 26, 2011

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...

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
October 25, 2011

Last week, the Bay Area's Business Council on Climate Change — which SPUR is a part of — released the Green Tenant Toolkit, an online resource for improving the sustainable performance of existing commercial buildings in San Francisco.

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