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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

2017 Silver SPUR Awards: How Steve Nakajo Champions San Francisco’s Japanese Community

December 5, 2017
Steve Nakajo is a civic leader and longtime champion of San Francisco’s Japanese American community. In 1971, he co-founded (with Sandy Mori) Kimochi, Inc., a successful community-based nonprofit, to bring social services to non-English-speaking seniors of Japantown. A longtime instructor in the Asian American Studies and MSW programs at San Francisco State University, Nakajo served on the the City’s Fire Commission and the Arts Commission.

San Jose's Sustainability Plan Sets a New Climate Standard

November 21, 2017 By Kathryn Exon Smith, San Jose Program Associate
San Jose’s proposed Environmental Sustainability Plan will go a step beyond California’s ambitious climate goals with a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with the 2016 Paris Accords. In becoming the first American city to develop a “Paris compliant” pathway, San Jose aims to lead the way among cities in reducing climate impacts.

Remembering George Williams

November 16, 2017 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, and Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
City planner, former SPUR Board member and long-time SPUR volunteer George Williams passed away on November 7. The deputy director of San Francisco’s Department of City Planning for 20 years, he was instrumental in creating San Francisco’s 1985 Downtown Plan. We will greatly miss George, and we’re grateful for his years of service to SPUR and to the City of San Francisco.

Diridon Station as Catalyst: 9 Takeaways From Europe

November 7, 2017 By Teresa Alvarado and Laura Tolkoff
This summer, SPUR and the Knight Foundation took a delegation of South Bay elected officials and transit agency leaders to visit high-speed rail stations in the Netherlands and France. The trip was a quest for precedents as San Jose prepares to remake Diridon Station into one of the nation’s first high-speed rail hubs. Nine takeaways emerged from the trip as critical considerations for San Jose.

Is Oakland Ready for the Big One?

November 7, 2017 By Mori Wallner, SPUR Intern
Experts agree that the Bay Area is due for a major earthquake by the year 2050. In the event of such a disaster, Oakland and other cities will need to respond to both immediate and long-term challenges. At a recent SPUR forum, panelists talked about their work addressing uncertainty and mitigating seismic hazards in Oakland.

What Happens After the Fires?

October 17, 2017 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
The scale of the devastating fires unfolding in the North Bay is a painful reminder of the earthquake disasters SPUR has studied over the years. As first responders valiantly work to contain the damage and save lives, government officials will soon need to shift their attention to the daunting task of rebuilding the northern part of our region. How should they proceed?

What Does the Bay Area Need to Do About Housing?

October 16, 2017 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director, and Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
A group of regional stakeholders is working together to develop bold solutions to address the Bay Area's housing challenges. CASA, the Committee to House the Bay Area, will spend the next year building consensus on the “three Ps”: increasing housing production, preserving housing and protecting residents from displacement. SPUR offers recommendations on how to move the needle forward on the first P, increasing housing production.

SF Mayor Directs City to Deliver 5,000 Housing Units Per Year

October 13, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Last month, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued an executive directive calling for the city to speed up housing production in order to deliver 5,000 homes a year on an ongoing basis. The mayor’s directive argues that there is more that the city can and must do to sustain the pace of housing creation over the long term.

Could Germany’s Co-Developed Urban Housing Be a Model for the Bay Area?

September 21, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director, and Benjamin Grant, Urban Design Policy Director
Germany’s baugruppen (“building groups”) are a modern form of co-housing in which households of all kinds collectively finance and build a multifamily building as a means to improve quality of life and foster community. Could it work here? SPUR is hosting a lunchtime panel conversation on October 5 with experts in co-housing and co-living to explore baugruppen and other models.

Why We All Benefit From Affordable Housing With Services

September 20, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Voters around the Bay Area have shown their commitment to addressing homelessness by passing generous funding measures — but resistance to proposed housing that would actually serve homeless residents remains strong. In order to approve and build these homes, the Bay Area will need political will and public support. Here are three reasons why supportive housing should matter to all of us.

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