Blog

By Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director
January 15, 2013

2012 was a big year for SPUR and for the urbanist agenda. Years of work culminated in dramatic victories on the November ballot: San Francisco voters created a Housing Trust Fund, passed a parks bond and reformed the business tax.

By Molly Schremmer
January 10, 2013

Ever since the SPUR Urban Center opened in 2009, our bike-riding members have asked, “If SPUR supports cycling, why don’t you have bike racks?” It’s a long story, and it finally came to a close in December when the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD) unveiled the first of a new fleet of bike racks in the Yerba Buena district.

By Molly Schremmer
December 12, 2012

In November, BART released conceptual plans for a multi-billion dollar rejuvenation that would introduce a new wave of service called BART Metro. BART expects vast ridership expansion in the next several years, and these changes would allow 50 percent growth — bringing the number of daily riders to an average of 560,000 — by 2025.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
November 19, 2012

Southern Santa Clara County used to have a widespread and thriving agricultural sector, helping the area earn the name “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.”  Today, much of that famed farmland has been replaced with homes and offices.

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
November 19, 2012

While the majority of voters were lost in a sea of presidential fervor, San Francisco was busy having a historic local election. On the ballot were a number of important issues — from education to parks, housing to taxation. Here’s how the verdicts came down on four important measures.

By Tomiquia Moss, Community Planning Policy Director
November 16, 2012

Last month, SPUR organized a two-day study trip to Oakland for our board and staff members to get a glimpse of what's happening in this great city. While recent media reports have focused on corporate protests and vandalism, Mayor Jean Quan describes Oakland as a “city on the rise” — and from what we saw, we strongly agree.

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
November 15, 2012

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Interim chancellor Pamila Fisher offered a blunt assessment of the state of the college at a SPUR breakfast on October 17, just two days after the school released an action plan to address deficiencies identified by the Accreditation Commission for...

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
November 13, 2012

This week, one of the most important pieces of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32) goes live: the first-ever quarterly auction of carbon permits under California’s Cap and Trade program is set for Wednesday, November 14. California’s cap and trade program for greenhouse gases is designed to help achieve an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

November 12, 2012

Edward A. Chow, M.D., a native San Franciscan, has been addressing health needs, access and disparities for more than four decades. Working with the Chinese Hospital and its physicians, he helped create the Chinese Community Health Plan, the nation’s first culturally competent health plan dedicated to the needs of an Asian community.

November 12, 2012

Mildred Howard is an acclaimed mixed-media installation artist, activist, teacher, mother and grandmother, born and raised in the Bay Area. The Oakland Museum of California, the de Young Museum, SFMOMA, the San Jose Museum of Art and the Museum of the African Diaspora have all exhibited her work. She has received prestigious grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

November 12, 2012

Stephen S. Pearce, D.D., Ph.D., is senior rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. During his tenure, he started the temple’s hunger justice initiative and founded a long-standing collaboration with San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church.

November 12, 2012

John K. Stewart is a pillar in the real estate development and affordable housing communities of the Bay Area. A longtime SPUR board member, he is founder of The John Stewart Company, which has a management portfolio of more than 30,000 units in 400 properties.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
November 6, 2012

Besides making our streets prettier, what does our urban forest of street, park and backyard trees do for us? Trees are good for cities in lots of ways. They significantly increase property values. They provide shade, keeping energy demand in check on hot days and cooling the pedestrian realm.

November 5, 2012

The Fall 2012 issue of Content magazine highlights SPUR’s recent expansion to San Jose in a terrific profile of our San Jose director, Leah Toeniskoetter. A passionate cyclist and former Peace Corps volunteer with a background in real estate development, Toeniskoetter is pleased with the work that's been accomplished over the past year and is excited for what's ahead.

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
October 18, 2012

Three California cities have filed for bankruptcy protection since June. Since 2008, local governments in California have shrunk by nearly 190,000 employees and property values over the same period declined by 21.3 percent. What comes next? The Institute for Government Studies at the University of California at Berkeley convened an impressive panel of experts last month to move that debate forward.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
October 18, 2012

San Francisco is known internationally for its celebration of food. The city can boast of top restaurants; nationally acclaimed grocers, bakers and butchers; a thriving fleet of food trucks; and bountiful farmers’ markets. But these food retailers are not distributed equally across the city. While San Franciscans in many neighborhoods can take a short walk or ride and find a greengrocer or supermarket, in some parts of the city, food access is more difficult.

By Jennifer Warburg
October 10, 2012

On September 21 SPUR celebrated PARK(ing) Day with an original form of alchemy: transforming asphalt into mini-golf and pizza. The annual event, celebrated in more than 160 cities, invites the public to reimagine metered parking spots as new types of urban space— a temporary disruption that invites the community to inhabit and new spaces and give shape to the permanent solution.

By Benjamin Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
October 2, 2012

SPUR’s San Jose office is convening a task force of city officials and planning and development thought leaders to tackle a vexing question: How can the nation’s tenth largest city transform its historically suburban built environment into one that supports an active street life, greater use of transit and a stronger urban fabric?

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
September 28, 2012

San Francisco’s technology sector is booming once again, the real estate market appears to be in full recovery mode and office vacancies are at record lows. The city’s economy is quick to catch fire, but it’s also prone to downturns. This has benefited the city’s coffers and the public services they support, but it forces difficult decisions when fortunes turn for the worse.

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
September 26, 2012

At a workshop on September 21, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board reaffirmed its support for a bus-rapid transit (BRT) project on El Camino Real in Santa Clara County. The project takes a 17.3-mile route from the HP Pavilion in San Jose through Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos and north to Palo Alto.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
September 14, 2012

Richard Carranza has been an educator for more than twenty years.  He has seen firsthand how student learn better when they’re healthy and nourished.  And, as a father of two daughters enrolled in the city’s public schools, he’s heard firsthand that students want better food in their cafeteria.  Professionally and personally, he understands that school food is integral to the lives of students and the success of the District.  And, as the new Superintende

By Jennifer Warburg
September 13, 2012

This month BART experienced four of its top-ten most crowded days ever. Ridership exceeded 400,000 on three of those days, and the fourth was a day with no special events to boost regular numbers. As this growth continues, how will this crucial transit service balance the need to move more passengers with plans to encourage more cyclists to bring bikes on board?

by Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
September 11, 2012

In recent decades, San Francisco’s waterfront has been home to some of the city’s most transformative projects, including Mission Bay, AT&T Park, China Basin and the South Beach neighborhood. Today the waterfront is once again where many of the city’s largest and most exciting development proposals are taking place.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
September 5, 2012

There may be a drought in much of North America, but this summer has produced a bumper crop of reports on urban agriculture in cities across the continent. Nonprofit groups in New York, Toronto and Boston have recently published studies examining what their cities can do at the policy level to support city gardeners and farmers.

September 4, 2012

A cadre of 45 urbanists gathered downtown on a recent Sunday morning to join SPUR San Jose Director Leah Toeniskoetter for a bike tour. Beginning in the urban plaza fronting Philz Coffee, our mighty bike train easily navigated its way along the brand new buffered bike lanes of Third Street, en route to Japantown.

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