• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

State Responds to Housing Shortage With Major Package of Bills

August 30, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Governor Jerry Brown and California’s legislative leadership are expected to unveil a package of housing bills this week in response to widespread recognition that the state faces a significant housing shortage and a resulting affordability crisis. The announcement explicitly specified a general obligation bond, a permanent funding source for affordable housing and regulatory reforms, but more proposals are supposedly under discussion.

Good Food Framework Spreads in San Francisco

August 29, 2017 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
In a city that celebrates food from farm-to-table, public hospitals are now looking to up their game as well. Two San Francisco hospitals have begun baseline assessments using the Good Food Purchasing program framework to see how they can better direct their $8.6 million in combined annual food budgets. The city's jails are exploring following suit.

SF Makes Sweeping Changes to Affordable Housing Requirements

August 15, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
This summer, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt legislation that makes big changes to the city’s affordable housing requirements for residential development. SPUR is happy to see the supervisors coming together on a contentious issue, but we remain concerned that the new requirements are not financially feasible and will result in less affordable housing actually getting built.

Cities of Villages: What San Jose Can Learn from San Diego

August 10, 2017 By Nima Moinpour, SPUR Member, and Susannah Parsons, Special Projects Manager
Both San Diego and San Jose are growing rapidly. Both cities have adopted general plans that direct new growth into “urban villages.” At a recent SPUR forum, two urban planners from San Diego discussed key challenges and lessons learned with San Jose’s planning staff and the community.

California Extends Cap and Trade to Tackle Climate Change

August 1, 2017 By Sarah Jo Szambelan, Research Manager
Just months after the U.S. decision to withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, California made its latest move in climate leadership when Governor Brown signed AB 398, extending the state’s landmark cap-and-trade program for 13 more years. The new law passed with a bipartisan super-majority, signaling to innovators and investors that California is the place to advance carbon-free technologies and businesses.

Bloomberg Mayors Challenge: Should SF Jump Into the Ring?

July 31, 2017 By Christine Johnson, San Francisco Director
At the 2017 U.S. Conference of Mayors, Michael Bloomberg announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies is launching a $200 million, three year commitment to funding innovation in American cities. Will this latest entry in the growing field of city competitions garner real results? Should cities bother to apply? Here's why our San Francisco Director thinks SF should throw its hat in the ring.

Your Chance to Help Build a Downtown Oakland for Everyone

July 27, 2017 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Oakland's Downtown Specific Plan process has restarted with a full calendar of public workshops and events. Though residential construction is underway downtown, commercial construction is still lagging — and neither is enough to mitigate displacement. The best way to maintain Oakland’s cultural dynamism and diversity is to plan for growth that provides benefits to all. Here's how to get involved in shaping the plan.

New SPUR Project: Designing With Nature for Sea Level Rise

July 13, 2017 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
While many efforts are underway to assess the Bay Area’s vulnerability to climate change, there hasn’t been a framework for evaluating which strategies will be appropriate for our shoreline’s many different settings — from wetlands to recreational attractions to industrial sites. SPUR is launching a new project that will define different segments of the shoreline so that we can develop integrated adaptation strategies for each.

How 5 Megaprojects Could Add Up to One Easy Train Ride

July 10, 2017 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, and Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
With so many transportation agencies in the Bay Area, different entities often end up planning and building pieces of the same project. That’s happening right now on a grand scale: There are no less than five megaprojects taking place between San Jose and Oakland. If planned right they could add up to much more than the sum of their parts.

Putting the “Me” in Transit: Six Tools to Figure Out What Riders Want

June 28, 2017 By Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Associate, and Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
What would it look like if we put people at the center of transit planning — if we designed a friendly system grounded in the needs, wants and preferences of all riders? Would transit be more useful? Would more people ride it? To help transportation planners understand riders as customers, SPUR recently hosted the third annual Transit + Design Workshop.

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