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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Modernize San Jose's Outdated Business Tax: Vote Yes on Measure G

October 5, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
For years, San Jose had to cut services and staff, defer maintenance on infrastructure and postpone policies that would support its transition to a more urban city. Now is the time for the city to shift toward reinvestment. Measure G would update and restructure the business tax and could double business tax revenue from $12.7 million to $25.4 million in its first year.

Two Things All Successful Cities Do

September 29, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Economically successful cities do two things right: They build and attract talent, and they create urban places. The Bay Area has one of the most dynamic economies in the world — but we can’t rest on our laurels. As Joe Cortright noted during a recent talk at SPUR San Jose, we need to build more and better cities to continue attracting and retaining top talent.

Support Affordable Housing in Santa Clara County: Vote Yes on Measure A

September 28, 2016 By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Santa Clara County is now one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The median home price is approaching $1 million, and ever-increasing rents have resulted in displacement pressures and a growing homeless population. In November, voters in Santa Clara County have an opportunity to help those who are most in need of housing and improve quality of life for all.

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. SPUR recently hosted 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?

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 and lack of accessible green space. At a recent SPUR forum, 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.

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