March 22, 2012

SPUR's 32nd annual Good Government Awards, held March 19, honored City of San Francisco employees who have performed exceptionally, becoming models for other agencies and cities around the country.


March 22, 2012

This year at our 32nd annual Good Government Awards, SPUR honored the SFpark Pilot Program team — Jay Primus, George Reynolds, Steven Lee and Lorraine Fuqua — for its implementation of its groundbreaking smart parking management program.

by Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
March 19, 2012

As the rest of the country eagerly watches the Republican presidential primary drama unfold, San Francisco prepares for a comparatively uneventful June election. Five proposed initiatives have dropped off the ballot, leaving the city to consider just two measures this election. Prop. A would change the competitive procurement and franchising for solid waste disposal in the city.

March 15, 2012

On Thursday, March 8, the San Pedro Square Market filled with supporters of the new SPUR San Jose office, which opened in January. The 500 urbanists who joined us received a thundering welcome from San Jose Taiko, an award-winning traditional drumming group based in San Jose’s Japantown.

By Jennifer Warburg and Egon Terplan
March 15, 2012

On February 28, Salesforce announced its was suspending plans to build a 2-million-square-foot campus on the 14 acres it had acquired in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. Citing that it has grown faster than expected, the company will instead lease existing space two miles north, near Market Street in San Francisco’s Central Business District.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
March 15, 2012

Two sites owned by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in San Francisco moved closer to becoming urban agriculture projects this week.

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 Sarah Karlinsky, Tomiquia Moss and Leah Toeniskoetter
February 23, 2012

Redevelopment agencies across the state closed their doors on February 1, marking the end of an era for planning in California. How are San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose dismantling their agencies? What’s going to happen to the on-going projects and existing assets held by redevelopment agencies? And will any new planning tools emerge to do some of the work previously done by redevelopment agencies?

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.

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 and animal cruelty. When Oakland’s planning department held a meeting to discuss changes to urban agriculture regulations, nearly 300 people showed. Like many other jurisdictions nationwide, the city is proceeding cautiously as it updates its animal regulations.

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 Leah Toeniskoetter, SPUR San Jose Director
November 18, 2011

In January 2012, we will launch SPUR San Jose, a pilot project to extend our research, education and advocacy to the South Bay's largest city. SPUR San Jose Director Leah Toeniskoetter reports on the city's new Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan. The big idea in the plan is to create urban villages, specific areas that will provide active, walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban settings for new housing and job growth. 

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.