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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Lessons for Diridon: Rebuilding Rotterdam Centraal Station

September 22, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff and Deike Peters*
Over the next decade, San Jose’s Diridon Station will be remade into the first high-speed rail station in the country and the busiest transportation hub west of the Mississippi. What models can guide the planning for this major opportunity? Rotterdam Centraal, in the Netherlands, has a number of parallels to Diridon and offers an excellent model of what a modern transportation hub can be.

Make Alameda County More Affordable: Support Measure A1

September 19, 2016 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
In November, residents of Alameda County will have the opportunity to make their cities more affordable by supporting Measure A1. This $580 million bond is badly needed, and would fund the creation of permanently affordable rental housing and help moderate-income households afford home ownership.

Taking Care of Basic Needs: Support Measure KK, the Oakland Infrastructure Bond

September 13, 2016 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
The City of Oakland has $2.5 billion in unfunded capital needs, including a $443 million paving backlog. Libraries and parks need maintenance and upgrades, as do fire stations. And the city’s shortage of affordable housing is displacing long-term residents. But Measure KK, on the ballot in Oakland this November, will help to address these and other problems.

Support South Bay Traffic Relief and Road Repair: Vote Yes on Measure B

September 8, 2016 By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Measure B, on the ballot in Santa Clara County this November, would raise the sales tax by half a cent and generate $6 billion to $6.3 billion over 30 years to fund critical transportation projects in the South Bay. SPUR recommends a “yes” vote on Measure B.
Produce shelves. Photo by Lance Cheung, courtesy of USDA via Flickr.

Increasing Economic Access to Healthy Foods

August 30, 2016 By Kiyomi Honda Yamamoto, San Jose Special Projects Assistant
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, is key to health and a high quality of life. But many Bay Area residents struggle to afford these healthy ingredients. On July 27, SPUR hosted “ Making Healthy Food More Affordable ,” a conversation about how to expand access to healthy food by increasing low-income families’ purchasing power in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets.
Greens growing at AT&T Park in San Francisco in a garden managed by Farmscape.  Photo by Eli Zigas, courtesy of SPUR.

Can You Make A Living As An Urban Farmer? Recap of a SPUR Forum

August 30, 2016 By Ellery Stritzinger, SPUR Intern
In recent years, urban agriculture has been championed as solution to some of cities’ most persistent issues – food insecurity, environmental sustainability, lack of accessible greenspace. At a SPUR forum on July 12, three panelists who run urban farming businesses and organizations explored urban agriculture’s potential to provide economic development and jobs, highlighting the challenge of economic sustainability.

Rethinking Regional Planning: A Window of Opportunity in 2016

August 26, 2016 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The Bay Area is changing. We are living in an age of climate change, housing shortages, income inequality, fiscal stress and — soon — driverless cars, trucks and buses. Our local governments will not be able to take on the significant challenges of these times on their own. We need effective — even visionary — regional government to put its resources toward solving them.

Urban Design Deconstructed: A Walking Tour of Santana Row

August 10, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Right now, San Jose is the midst of planning three urban villages: the Santana Row/ Valley Fair Urban Village, the Winchester Urban Village and the Stevens Creek Urban Village. SPUR led a walking tour earlier this summer to explore how the urban village plans can use key urban design concepts to create people-friendly places in this growing part of the city.

Legalizing Urbanism, One Block at a Time

July 27, 2016 By Alyssa Kies
Jason Roberts just wanted a coffee shop and bike lane in his Dallas neighborhood. But he found that even the simplest streetscape improvements were too expensive or, worse, illegal. So Roberts and his friends got to work with duct tape and stencils. As a result, the city has since dramatically reduced permitting fees and peeled back ordinances that banned street activity.

Building an Inclusive Community in Times of Fear and Distrust

July 20, 2016 By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Our nation is suffering from a gaping wound reminiscent of the 1960s. During that era, my parents were active in el movimiento , working alongside Cesar Chavez to advocate for better living conditions, opportunities, safety and acceptance. My parents dreamed of a different future than we are experiencing now. We must return to being an inclusive community that provides a path to opportunity and mobility.

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