• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Oakland Clears the Path for New Urban Agriculture

December 7, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
The City of Oakland recently made it easier for urban farmers and gardeners to start new projects. On November 18, the City Council unanimously approved changes to the city planning code that clarifies what types of urban agriculture are allowed in each part of the city and expanded the areas where residents can cultivate crops and produce honey.

How Should San Jose Pay for Affordable Housing?

December 3, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Silicon Valley has become one of the most expensive housing markets nationwide, and funding for affordable housing in Santa Clara County has been steadily decreasing or stagnating. Last month the San Jose City Council approved an affordable housing impact fee to be paid by developers. Once it’s fully operational, the program is anticipated to generate between $20 and $30 million per year for affordable housing.

SF's Parks Provide Economic Benefits Approaching $1 Billion

December 3, 2014 By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
When it comes to weighing city policy priorities, parks have historically come up short on the ability to demonstrate their economic value . But San Francisco's open spaces and recreational opportunities are actually worth about $1 billion per year, according to a new report from the Trust for Public Land and the SF Parks Alliance.

Celebrating 2014: A Special Message From SPUR

December 3, 2014
2014 has been a great year for urbanism. Now is a perfect time to take stock of all we accomplished, with your support. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s what we'll be working on in the new year — and how you can help.

How Commuter Benefits Can Shift the Bay Area to a More Sustainable Future

November 25, 2014 By Erin McAuliff
More than half of commuters in the Bay Area drive alone to work every day . Similar to most regions, transportation in the Bay Area is the largest source of pollution and the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. But some real progress is being made through local commuter incentives, and now a new program will take them region wide .
Yes on D Sign from Berkeley

Why Did Berkeley Pass a Soda Tax and Not San Francisco?

November 25, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
This election, for the first time ever, a majority of voters in two American cities supported taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley voters passed their measure, while San Francisco's measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, fell short. The results raise the question: why did Berkeley’s measure do so much better than San Francisco’s? A number of factors were at play.

2014 Silver SPUR Awards: How Leslie Tang Schilling Champions Small Business

November 24, 2014
Leslie is a co-founder of the successful Union Square Investment Company with her husband, Alexander H. Schilling. She has been active in many civic and advisory groups that aid small business owners and woman- and Asian-owned businesses, most notably the Asian Business League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Economic Development Corp. and the State of California Small Business Advisory Board.

2014 Silver SPUR: How Clothilde Hewlett Inspires Civic Leadership

November 24, 2014
Clothilde Hewlett is an attorney who has achieved an incredible breadth of accomplishments during a career that has spanned statewide policy roles in government, law enforcement and criminal justice. Now, as a public policy attorney with Nossaman LLP, she facilitates public-private partnerships in transportation, infrastructure, clean technology and real estate.

2014 Silver SPUR: How Michael Painter Re-Envisions Urban Design

November 24, 2014
Michael Painter is owner/president of MPA Design and has offered design development strategies and solutions for award-winning projects since 1969. Over MPA Design’s 45-year history, his urban designs have won accolades from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Institute of Architects, UC Berkeley’s Department of Landscape Architecture and the Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society.

2014 Silver SPUR: How Ron and Barbara Kaufman Advocate for San Francisco

November 24, 2014
Ron Kaufman worked for half a century to preserve the historic character of one of San Francisco's oldest neighborhoods, the Old North Waterfront. He has been a vital force in the business and philanthropic community. Barbara Kaufman hosted Call for Action, a top-rated consumer advocacy radio show on KCBS-AM. This role led her to win a citywide seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

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