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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Who Benefits From Oakland’s “Community Benefits” Negotiations?

March 27, 2017 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
With new construction heating up in Oakland, local groups are asking developers to pay for “community benefits” beyond what the city requires. But as Uber backs away from its plans for downtown, Oaklanders should beware that pushing too hard may lose the city the most important community benefit of all: the long-term increase in tax rolls that the city desperately needs.

Friendship and Five Other Principles for Designing a New Bay Area Transit Map

March 23, 2017 By Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Associate
The Bay Area has more than two dozen public transit operators, but few people use more than one service — and many don’t use them at all. Getting more people onto buses and trains will mean making it easier for potential riders to understand what services are available. A new partnership is looking at how a user-friendly regional transit map might help bridge the gap.

The Downfall of the Mall, the Triumph of the City and the Birth of Something in Between

March 2, 2017 By Joshua Brett, San Jose Policy Intern, and Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
The popularity of Santana Row reflects a renewed interest in urban places — and places that feel urban. As midcentury shopping malls fail across the country, many are being transformed into “lifestyle centers" that integrate entertainment, dining, public spaces and even housing. At a recent SPUR forum, UC Berkeley's Chris Calott explored the origins — and future — of Santana Row and other lifestyle centers.

Can San Francisco Grow Without Gridlock?

February 24, 2017 By Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Associate
How do you keep people moving and avoid gridlock in a city that’s poised to add 190,000 jobs and 100,000 households over the next 25 years? For San Francisco, solving this problem is not a thought experiment — it’s reality. To address this issue, the city is enlisting developers in making sure their new projects don’t add up to thousands more car trips.

Inclusionary Housing: A Good Tool but Let’s Wield It Carefully

February 23, 2017 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
How much affordable housing should San Francisco require market-rate developers to build? A new study offers recommendations, and city supervisors will soon vote on a permanent requirement. The question they’ll face next is whether to stand by recommendations grounded in technical analysis or yield to political pressures to approve a higher requirement that sounds good but could backfire.

What We Will Lose If the Census Stops Gathering Racial Data We Can Map

February 22, 2017 By Sarah Jo Szambelan, Research Manager
In January, two new laws were introduced in Congress to limit public information on the racial makeup of communities and the race of those struggling to afford housing. These proposals could impact how the U.S. Census collects data. In effect, they would blot out our ability to measure institutional racism — or track our progress to reverse it.
Double Up Food Bucks shelf signage

Double Up Food Bucks: SPUR’s Healthy Food Incentive Grocery Pilot

February 22, 2017 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
SPUR's newly launched pilot program Double Up Food Bucks helps low-income families afford more fruits and vegetables and supports California farms. The project allows families participating in the CalFresh program (formerly known as food stamps) to double the value of their benefits when they buy California-grown produce at select grocery stores in Santa Clara County.

The Best Equity Plan for Downtown Oakland: Grow for Everyone’s Sake

February 15, 2017 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Oakland’s Downtown Specific Plan process is about to restart, but with a major shift in approach. Responding to public concern over displacement, the city is developing a racial equity framework for the plan. If Oakland is bold enough in its ambitions, the downtown plan can be opportunity to demonstrate that equity will come from supporting economic growth — not from stifling it.

Charging Ahead: How the Bay Area Is Leading the Country on Electric Vehicles

February 9, 2017 By Sarah Jo Szambelan, Research Manager
At SPUR we promote transit policies that help people get around without cars, but we also recognize that there will always be some amount of driving and have advocated for policies that will move us toward a future with more electric vehicles. A recent EV event hosted by the Center for Sustainable Energy gave an update on how the EV transition is progressing.

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