Despite the inches of rain that fell in February, California’s farmers and ranchers are still facing a severe drought. Mother Jones magazine recently published an infographic that clearly illustrates the link between the lack of rain and the state’s agricultural economy. What it conveys is that this is going to be a hard year for farmers and ranchers in California, with nationwide ripple effects.
Earlier this month, San Francisco’s leading economists met to predict the future. Each year, SPUR’s Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee brings together city staff and independent economic experts from sectors including real estate, hospitality and retail. This year’s Annual Economic Briefing illuminated several key economic trends impacting the city this year.
Why not address the Bay Area’s housing crisis — caused by a surge of new jobs without an equivalent increase in new housing — at its source? Alfred Twu’s fantastical renderings imagine Silicon Valley corporate campuses like Google, Apple and Facebook as complete cities, their parking lots packed with enough housing to accommodate their entire workforces.
A few billion dollars of transportation projects are converging in San Francisco: the electrification of Caltrain, the extension of Caltrain’s route to the Transbay Transit Center and the arrival of high-speed rail. How can we make sure these transportation investments improve San Francisco's urban environment rather than disrupt it? To find out, the city is launching a major study.
We are launching a one-week membership drive with a goal of 100 new members. We're offering a special introductory annual rate of $50 — a 33 percent discount. We'll also be raffling off prizes all week, so make sure you're following us on Twitter for the latest updates.
From President Obama’s State of the Union speech to local policy initiatives, there’s been a lot of attention lately on wage inequality and the shrinking middle class. As part of a major SPUR initiative, a group of Bay Area pilot projects will tackle these issues head on.
While San Francisco is a city that celebrates food, it's also home to many who struggle to get three complete meals a day. Between 100,000 and 225,000 residents have incomes that put them at risk of food insecurity. Two new reports show that even with collaboration among government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector, there are still many hurdles to overcome in addressing food insecurity.
2013 was one of the driest years on record, and 2014 is not off to a great start either. As we head into a third dry year, water conservation is more important than ever — and so is preparing for future uncertainty in our water supply by investing in reliable, sustainable supplies, as recommended in SPUR's report Future-Proof Water.
Two big lease deals in downtown San Jose indicate that the city center’s underappreciated assets may be proving attractive to those seeking more urban workplaces in Silicon Valley. Why did these two tenants choose downtown over other nearby competitors? Four reasons: access to transit, urban amenities, real estate costs and a responsive government.
Now is a perfect time to take stock of all the great things that have happened this year, with your help. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s how you can help.
San Francisco’s school meals could look quite a bit different in the coming years. That’s the overarching theme of a report that the San Francisco Unified School District released in September, laying out a long-term vision for the future of the district's school meals program, which currently serves 22,000 lunches and 5,500 breakfasts each day.
Streets are different than highways, yet the United States delegates authority for all roadway design to a private nonprofit made up largely of highway engineers. And unfortunately, many of the principles that make for safe highways make for dangerous, dysfunctional urban streets. But a new manual released this fall, the Urban Street Design Guide, could change all this.
A little over one-third of the Bay Area workforce earns $18 per hour or less. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, it’s important to move many of these workers to higher paying jobs. This posts looks at what these jobs are, how many of them there will be in the coming years, and the skills and education levels they require.
Thomas C. Layton has been a dedicated philanthropic leader, seeding and supporting positive social change for almost four decades. As the president of The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation since 1975, Layton has built a track record of innovative and risk-taking grant-making that has served some of the Bay Area's most esteemed leaders, movements and institutions in their nascent stages.
Daniel Solomon, FAIA is an architect and urban designer whose career combines professional practice with teaching and writing. His commitment to the construction and reconstruction of urban neighborhoods extends beyond his renowned project work; he is a co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism and a passionate spokesman for the cause of the city.
Chief Judge Karen V. Clopton has been promoting active public discourse, integrity and transparency in government for more than two decades. As the chief administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission, she has made its crucial regulatory work more accessible to the public and more efficient.
Senator Art Torres (Ret.), J.D. has been a life-long public servant and advocate for civil rights, healthcare, stem cell research and environmental justice. In a career spanning more than three decades, he has distinguished himself by tackling complex policy issues that affect all California residents. Sen.
Many middle-income jobs have been lost since the economic meltdown and the competition for the jobs that remain leave low- and moderate-wage workers competing with people who have more experience and education. In this post, we focus on specific barriers affecting low- and moderate-wage workers.
Stalled for years in environmental review and public uncertainty, the project to build bus rapid transit on Geary Boulevard is gaining momentum, with new designs and a new target opening date.
After a grueling recession and a long period of underbuilding, construction is making a vigorous comeback in San Francisco: The SF Planning Department reports more than 6,000 new units under construction. The backlash, however, comes in the form of rising rents— exacerbating unaffordability in what was already one of the country's least affordable cities.
Middle-wage jobs are becoming scarcer as more and more job growth takes place at the high and low ends of the wage spectrum. How can we create opportunity for low-wage workers to move up? Past efforts to address this issue have sometimes emphasized the differences between workers in different wage groups. But this often masks the specific information needed to solve the challenge.
The No. 1 crisis facing San Francisco today is the skyrocketing cost of housing. As high prices push people out, the City of Oakland faces a wave of new arrivals — and new challenges. Here's how we got into this situation, and what we can do about it.
Since rolling out on August 29, Bay Area Bike Share has logged an estimated 21,138 bicycle trips and 4,380 casual members. Not bad for a pilot program. But in order for it to last — and grow — it’s important to ask how we can translate this initial success into a long-term one. The future of the program faces two immediate issues: how to fund it and how to make it work at its unique regional scale.
Climate scientists have raised concerns that the latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is "too conservative," referring to its lowered projections on the range of future warming based on a slight lack of temperature increase over the last decade. Despite this possibly encouraging bit of news, the IPCC's fifth major assessment continues to report unequivocal warming due to human causes.
Earlier this year a new ordinance requiring energy audits for existing commercial buildings in San Francisco went into effect. The audits identify upgrades a property owner can make to improve overall building efficiency. So far, the first 195 building audits have identified 32 gigawatt-hours of potential annual energy savings, with a value of $6 million. ...