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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Urban Ag Incentives Adopted in Santa Clara County and Sacramento

October 5, 2015 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
This fall, multiple jurisdictions, including Santa Clara County and Sacramento, have followed San Francisco’s model and created urban agriculture incentive zones of their own or have taken official steps toward doing so.

New Report Says Mission Moratorium Will Only Make the Housing Crisis Worse

September 18, 2015 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Director
In September, San Francisco Chief Economist Ted Egan released a report analyzing the impacts of a moratorium on new housing construction in the Mission District. While the rapid changes happening in the Mission neighborhood are real and of grave concern, the report showed that a moratorium on new housing would have many costs and few benefits.

Heeding the Call for Affordable Housing in Silicon Valley

August 18, 2015 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
San Francisco housing fights may make the headlines, but the median home sales price in the San Jose metropolitan area is the highest in the nation, at $980,000. A new advocacy group launched this year will focus directly on Santa Clara County’s affordable housing issues. SV@Home will advocate for more policies, programs, funding and land for affordable housing in the county. ​

What the Bay Area Can Learn From Hurricane Sandy

August 11, 2015 By Veronica Tien
Thanks to the threat of sea level rise, prolonged drought and the possibility of natural disaster brought on by climate change, the Bay Area could soon face devastating damage. How can we get ready for climate change before disaster strikes? SPUR invited designers and city planners to discuss lessons learned from the Rebuild By Design competition that helped revitalize the Northeast Coast after Hurricane Sandy.

The Return of Passenger Rail in the North Bay

July 29, 2015 By Zack Dinh
Many communities in Marin and Sonoma County grew up around rail. The remnants of this legacy are the walkable downtowns adjacent to former rail stations in many North Bay cities. Now, after decades of hard work by locals, passenger trains will once again connect the North Bay's communities: Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) will begin passenger rail service in December 2016.

Finding Your Way in Downtown San Jose

July 28, 2015 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Our report The Future of Downtown San Jose suggested that the city can bring more people and activity downtown by investing in clearer signage, more real-time information and better wayfinding. With support from the Knight Foundation, San Jose is now taking big steps to make that happen.

In Memoriam: Evan Rose

July 20, 2015 By Alexa Arena and Laura Crescimano
Last week urban designer Evan Rose died at the age of 50. He leaves behind an important body of work that will continue to influence cities and the people who plan them.

Supreme Court to Cities: Put Affordable Housing Where the Opportunity Is

July 15, 2015 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Amid celebrations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, a third important ruling was largely overlooked — one that could have a profound impact on where affordable housing is built: inner-city neighborhoods or the suburbs. Given significant research on the impact that neighborhoods have on life outcomes, the ramifications of this ruling could be profound.

The Oakland Produce Market: Linking Farm to Table in the East Bay

July 14, 2015 By Christina Yun
Throughout its nearly century-long history, the Oakland Produce Market has served as the late-night link between rural farms and urban consumers in the East Bay. The oldest American operation of its kind still using original facilities, located in one of Oakland’s oldest neighborhoods, the market is a hidden gem in the historical industrial district near Jack London Square.

San Jose’s Exhibition District Harvests Local Arts Economy

July 7, 2015 By Alyssa Kies
There are at least 30,000 square feet of blank walls in downtown San Jose. A new nonprofit organization called the Exhibition District is hatching an ambitious plan to cover them with murals by local artists. The goal is to use public art as an economic engine that can both attract people to downtown and pay artists real wages for their work.

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