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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Quick Guide to SPUR's SF Ballot Recommendations

October 1, 2014
It's election season and time for SPUR's in-depth analysis of local San Francisco ballot measures. Don't want to wade through our 30-page voter guide? Check out this quick summary of all our recommendations. For those who do want to nerd out, don't worry — we've included links to our complete analysis.

Urban Farming Is Not Making the Housing Crisis Worse

September 9, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
A recent article in the Atlantic argues that San Francisco’s new urban agriculture property tax incentive will only exacerbate the problem of limited housing supply in an already overheated housing market. We share the author's concern about housing affordability, but his critique of this policy, which SPUR worked to pass, misses the mark.

Inspiration From Helsinki: Car-Free Living That Really Works

August 27, 2014 By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
Is the transportation always greener on the other side of the fence? Helsinki, Finland, recently announced a plan for a transit system that would make car ownership a thing of the past within the next 10 years. SPUR examines how the Bay Area could take inspiration from this integrated, single-payment, mobility-on-demand system.

The Risky Business Project Takes on Economic Impacts of Climate Change

August 7, 2014 By Libby Nachman
How can we get past stagnant partisan arguments about climate change and begin looking at its impact on economic planning and investment? Kate Gordon of Next Generation presented this question at a SPUR lunchtime forum on the Risky Business Project, a nonpartisan effort to quantify and publicize the economic risks from climate change impacts.

SPUR Endorses Santa Clara County Open Space Measure

August 6, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
This November, Santa Clara County residents will vote on a tax measure that would significantly expand efforts to preserve and protect open space areas. This measure aligns with a number of SPUR’s goals. For Santa Clara County voters, we recommend a “yes” vote on the open space funding measure.

Are We in an Affordability Crisis or a Housing Bubble?

August 6, 2014 By Benjamin Schneider
No one in San Francisco is arguing about whether real estate is expensive. There is, however, some debate about how to characterize the astronomical prices. Now that median home values have returned to pre-recession highs, some are compelled to ask: Are we in another housing bubble? Real estate experts Jed Kolko and Tim Cornwell spoke to this question at a recent SPUR forum.

SF Approves California’s First Tax Incentive for Urban Ag

August 5, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has passed California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. The final legislation included a few important amendments.

The High Potential of Low-Carbon Fuel Policy

July 24, 2014 By Flavio Coppola
In June, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case concerning whether California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard program discriminated against fuels produced out of state, allowing the program to continue functioning unhindered. The decision received little media attention, but it is crucially important for California’s climate action goals. SPUR explores the impact of this poorly understood policy on the state’s climate goals and the fuel industry.

What Can We Do About Highway 101?

July 24, 2014 By Alyssa Kies
Despite more than $1 billion in capital investments on Highway 101 over the past 20 years, the connection between San Francisco and Silicon Valley still has some of the worst traffic delays in the Bay Area. Alleviating traffic on 101 will require viable alternatives to driving through both transportation and land use changes. SPUR proposes a three-pronged approach to managing growth in the corridor.

New Data Shows Bay Area and State Economies Are Booming

July 23, 2014 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
Our state and region are booming. After dropping from the world’s fifth largest economy to its 10th, the state has risen back up to eighth place. But challenges remain. Housing costs are soaring, unemployment remains high and few middle-wage jobs exist. The Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy shares new economic data about the region and state.

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