Blog

By Kurt Pelzer and Laura Tam
August 8, 2013

The word “infrastructure” connotes things like pipes, conduits, steel and concrete, but when it comes to solving urban water management challenges, there are a growing number of solutions that are equally engineered yet more nature-based. While “grey” or traditional infrastructure remains an essential part of safe and effective design for flood control and urban watershed management, it is no longer the only tool in the toolbox.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
July 17, 2013

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given the green light for the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) to take the lead coordinating the city’s support of urban agriculture. Among SPUR's recommended priorities for this program are developing a strategy to reduce community garden waiting lists and operating as a "one-stop-shop" for the people seeking assistance with urban agriculture projects.

By Gabriel Metcalf and Ratna Amin
July 2, 2013

For a group like SPUR — one that works to promote transit, walking and biking as primary forms of mobility — there’s no question that a transit strike is a major setback. It instills in people the sense, consciously or unconsciously, that they cannot count on transit being there when they need it.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
July 2, 2013

While many parts of San Francisco are full of fresh food retailers, other neighborhoods lack greengrocers of any size.  According to the SF Health Department, some areas of the city — including Treasure Island, the Tenderloin, Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley, among others — have limited to no fresh food retail options.

By Egon Terplan and Tony Vi
June 18, 2013

In the past few years, there's been a lot of attention on income inequality and the shrinking middle class, particularly as job growth nationally has remained sluggish. Despite an economic boom in the Bay Area, many workers are still struggling. SPUR is part of a new initiative to identify ways we can increase economic opportunity at the local and regional level.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
May 23, 2013

Before we paved the streets of San Francisco, little creeks and wetlands were abundant. Today, as in most cities, these natural water features have been replaced by a sewer network that effectively throws away rainwater instead of finding ways to reuse it. But a new 20-year, $6 billion capital program could be the start of a new approach to stormwater management.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
May 20, 2013

Last month the San Francisco Planning Department released a draft of the Central Corridor Plan, the result of several years of planning efforts. The plan represents an enormous opportunity to build on the substantial transit investment in the area, including the $1.6 billion Central Subway project, as well as existing transit in the form of the 4th and Caltrain station and the N-Judah Muni line, as well as many frequent local buses.

By Benjamin Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
May 16, 2013

This week, SPUR and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District will close Annie Alley to car traffic and host a series of outdoor public events. What is it about an alley that inspires urban invention? As we kick off our week of investigation, we pause to reflect on the humble alley and its role in the city.

By Lenka Belkova and Ratna Amin
May 7, 2013

How would you improve the transit system for neighborhoods in the northeast part of San Francisco? This was the key question SPUR asked at a transit planning workshop for the city’s northeast neighborhoods last month. The workshop brought together representatives from key public agencies, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf businesses, the tourism industry and neighborhood advocacy groups, as well as transportation professionals.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
May 6, 2013

Over the last year, there’s been palpable buzz in San Francisco around eco-districts — sustainability plans that operate at the neighborhood scale. After studying models in Portland, Seattle, Brooklyn and Denver, the city has kicked off a planning process for its first eco-district. The project will target the Central Corridor, the 24-square-block area south of Market Street currently undergoing a neighborhood planning and rezoning process.

By Egon Terplan and Ethan Lavine
April 29, 2013

SPUR has written several times about the development of Plan Bay Area since the planning process was kicked off a few years ago. Last month, the draft of the plan was finally released. What are the highlights in this 158-page plan and the accompanying 1,300-page environmental impact report? This post provides a summary of the draft and some of its key points.

By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
April 25, 2013

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has selected SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf to co-chair his 2030 Transportation Task Force. Like other task forces the mayor has convened, this one will tackle a seemingly intractable problem: transportation funding.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
April 24, 2013

Last Thursday, on the 107th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake, SF Mayor Ed Lee signed the mandatory soft-story retrofit program into law. SPUR has long advocated for this legislation, which will help make San Francisco more resilient in a major earthquake.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
April 2, 2013

Of the many food and agriculture bills California legislators have introduced this year, three stand out for their potential impact on the Bay Area’s food system: a tax incentive to promote the use of private land for urban agriculture; a change to CEQA to require agricultural land preservation for certain projects; and a statewide sugary-beverage tax. Here’s a closer look at these bills, which we will be tracking this year.
 

March 21, 2013

Ted Egan was honored at SPUR's 33rd annual Good Government Awards for being a key player in the effort to reform the payroll tax system in San Francisco.

March 21, 2013

Jaime Flores-Lovo was honored at SPUR's 33rd annual Good Government Awards for his vision and leadership in the development of enterprise-level technology projects for the Department of Public Works, most significantly in the system migration for the department’s contract automation. 

March 21, 2013

SPUR’s 33rd annual Good Government Awards, held March 19, 2013, honored City of San Francisco employees who have performed exceptionally, becoming models for other agencies and cities around the country.

March 21, 2013

Michelle Ruggels was honored at SPUR's 33rd annual Good Government Awards for her leadership in overseeing $490 million in annual contracts to 200 community-based organizations that provide community health services to San Franciscans.

March 21, 2013

The Crime Data Warehouse Team was honored at SPUR's 33rd annual Good Government Awards for building a web-based, real-time, searchable database of criminal reports that police officers can access on the ground. 

By Egon Terplan and Ethan Lavine
March 5, 2013

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is facing heavy criticism and a lawsuit for its decision to approve the Cordova Hills subdivision, a new development for 25,000 residents on what is now rolling hills and ranch land 22 miles east...

By Tomiquia Moss, Community Planning Policy Director, and Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
February 26, 2013

Could the Caltrain station and railyards at 4th and King streets be San Francisco’s next big planning opportunity? The right type of development here could knit toogether the surrounding neighborhoods, capitalize on the extensive transit access — and even help pay for important transportation projects. We explore three scenarios for the site.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
February 26, 2013

The array of food grown within a couple of hours of San Francisco makes our region truly unique. Along with an astounding amount of agricultural diversity, the Bay Area's farms and ranches employ a wide range of business models. This is an asset to their economic vibrancy, but it also means there are few "one size fits all" policy recommendations to support regional agriculture. 

By Jennifer Warburg
February 18, 2013

The Bay Area economy has rebounded from the recession. Yet major regional challenges threaten our continued prosperity. At the 2013 State of Silicon Valley conference, SPUR made the case that some of the biggest threats to the Bay Area’s long-term economic competitiveness are challenges best addressed through better regional governance.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
February 4, 2013

The crowd of a few dozen people that spilled off the sidewalk at Lee’s Market on an overcast morning had gathered to celebrate. The occasion: the grand re-opening of the corner store with  new offerings of fresh fruit, vegetables and an expanded selection of healthy grocery items.

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.

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