• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Bay Area Voters Approve Smart Growth, Reject Sprawl

November 12, 2014 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
From a regional perspective, there’s one pretty clear outcome of the recent election: Smart growth and infill development won at the ballot box. Across half a dozen measures, Bay Area voters rejected NIMBY-led downzoning, approved height increases in their downtowns, reaffirmed urban growth boundaries and voted against sprawl development.

Knight Challenge Grant Supports Urban Transformation in San Jose

November 10, 2014 By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
Knight Foundation’s support for SPUR’s new office in San Jose — a $1.775 million challenge grant over five years — will help catalyze the civic conversation around the city’s urban future. The funding provides a runway as SPUR builds capacity to be the leading civic partner for the City of San Jose as it undertakes the most ambitious growth plan of any American city.

Urbanism Wins in the Bay Area

November 10, 2014 By Gabriel Metcalf, President
Regardless of what happened at the national level, our local elections were full of good news for urbanism. Ballot measures that passed in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland marked major victories for transit, open space and higher minimum wages across the region.

Achieving Economic Mobility, Prosperity and Opportunity: What the Bay Area Can Do

November 5, 2014 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
Persistent poverty and income inequality are challenging issues to address. Job growth exists primarily at the top and bottom end of the labor market, and the share of employment in the middle is declining. The Bay Area Economic Prosperity Strategy is a region-wide plan to improve opportunities for the 1.1 million workers who earn less than $18 per hour.

A Strategy to Support SF Food Makers and Movers

November 5, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
The past and future growth of the local food economy, and all the benefits it provides to the Bay Area, depend on the food and beverage manufactures and distributors who often operate behind-the-scenes. Recognizing this, SPUR partnered with the San Francisco Planning Department and Office of Economic and Workforce Development to develop recommendations for how the city can better support these businesses.

5 Reasons Why SF Needs Transit First Policy More Than Ever

October 29, 2014 By Ratna Amin with Ritu Garg and Dan Feeney
The re-envisioning of San Francisco’s streets has been ongoing for more than four decades now, but there is still much work to do. Here are five reasons why the city's pioneering 1973 Transit First policy is more relevant than ever.

Is Your City (Planning) Working for Families?

October 21, 2014 by Jeff Vincent and Ratna Amin
Questions about the family friendliness of cities are bubbling up all over. At a recent SPUR forum, UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools shared the risks of ignoring kids and schools when planning cities — and the lessons learned about planning for successful family-oriented communities and high-quality schools.

Are Second Homes Driving Up San Francisco Housing Prices?

October 21, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
In cities like San Francisco, where housing is expensive and the market is competitive, emotional reactions can inform the policy debate. Is San Francisco’s housing supply being taken up by people who own units they don’t live in? Our study, Non-Primary Residences and San Francisco’s Housing Market takes an analytical approach, looking at numbers from the 2012 American Community Survey.

SPUR Hosts San Jose Mayoral Candidates Debate

October 16, 2014 By Kathryn Exon Smith and Leah Toeniskoetter
San Jose is about to choose a new mayor — a decision that will affect the city for decades to come. To help voters get to know the candidates and their positions on our issues, SPUR held a debate between the two contenders vying for the seat, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo .

More Money for Water? A Look at California Prop. 1

October 9, 2014 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
This November, after years of intense stakeholder negotiations, Proposition 1 — the latest in a decade-long series of state water bonds — will be decided by California voters. This $7.5 billion general obligation bond would fund water supply, ecosystems, water quality, groundwater cleanup, conservation, recycling and reuse. SPUR takes a look at the details of this complicated, and controversial, ballot measure.

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