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.
The energy in the room continued to build as Leah Toeniskoetter, director of SPUR San Jose, asked the crowd what they love about their city. “Cities are the incubators of creativity in art, technology and thought leadership,” she said. “Cities encourage us to experience the unexpected by simply walking down the street. SPUR’s mission is to foster this type of dynamic city, advocate for this type of city and research what makes this type of city tick.”
City Councilmember Sam Liccardo followed, reminding us of the great inventions that launched in San Jose, including the first commercial wine business in California (Paul Masson), the world’s first commercial radio station, and the Dorsa brother’s creation of the illustrious Eggo waffle. In a city of great dreamers, Liccardo said, “We’re taking this downtown and this city to the next level, and SPUR will help lead us there.”
Our strategic partner Connie Martinez, president and CEO of 1stACT, talked about the catalytic potential of great cities and San Jose’s forward-thinking leadership in fostering a strong urban culture. And SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf toasted San Jose’s embrace of change and thanked the city for inviting SPUR to be a part of its vision for the future. “I love the spirit of optimism and practicality here,” he said, “because what it means is that any problem we can come up with is going to be solved.”
The event drew a who’s who of city lovers, planners, architects, elected officials, and city and county staff — and they stayed with us for hours after the official program had ended. It was this dynamic energy that SPUR San Jose looks forward to continuing and building upon as we grow.
Thank you for being a part of our beginning — we look forward to seeing you in our future.
For more pictures, see our Flickr set San Jose Launch Party >>