Blog

December 3, 2013

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.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
December 2, 2013

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.

By Michael King and Jeffrey Tumlin
November 13, 2013

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.

By Egon Terplan and Imron Bhatti
November 5, 2013

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.

October 30, 2013

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.

October 30, 2013

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.

October 30, 2013

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.  

October 30, 2013

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.

By Tomiquia Moss, Community Planning Director
October 29, 2013

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.

By Peter Lauterborn
October 29, 2013

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.

By Sarah Karlinsky and Alyssa Kies
October 29, 2013

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.

By Egon Terplan and Sara Tiller
October 28, 2013

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.

by Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director
October 17, 2013

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. 

by Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
October 8, 2013

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. 

By Laura Hobbs and Laura Tam
October 4, 2013

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. ...

By Ritu Garg
September 25, 2013

As BART ridership continues to grow much faster than expected, the agency is exploring ways to increase capacity and improve service. The study currently underway, called BART Metro Vision, looks to when BART would serve more than double today's ridership, and works to measure which investments will deliver the most benefits to Bay Area rail transit.

By Ritu Garg
September 24, 2013

This month the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) unanimously approved the final environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) for the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project. When finished in the spring of 2018, the BRT line will serve the two miles on Van Ness Avenue from Lombard Street to Mission Street.

By Tomiquia Moss, Community Planning Director
September 19, 2013

The City of San Francisco has embarked on an ambitious plan to re-envision the troubled San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA). SFHA is a federally recognized public corporation with a commission appointed by the local government and a mission to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income people.

By Allison Arieff
September 17, 2013

In the June issue of The Urbanist, we explored the idea of removing Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco in order to reconnect the Mission Bay and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. This summer, the Center for Architecture presented a design competition to consider what might happen next. Here’s a look at the winning entries and the ideas they propose for transforming this urban barrier into a healthy neighborhood connection.

By Ritu Garg
September 17, 2013

In connection with our current exhibition, SPUR is thrilled to announce The Museum of the Phantom City: Unbuilt San Francisco, a free phone app that brings lost treasures of architecture and planning into contemporary life.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
September 17, 2013

As rents and home values in San Francisco continue to explode, residents and policy makers are trying to make sense of what this means for the city. Is San Francisco an anomaly within the region or a prophecy of things to come? SPUR will co-host two forums on the housing market to explore some of this question and more.

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.

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