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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

What We Talk About When We Talk About Affordable Housing: A Primer

June 21, 2018 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
The dramatic escalation of housing prices in the Bay Area has sparked a lot of discussion about affordability — but what do we mean by “affordable” housing? Who is it for? How is it funded and created? Our primer explains all.

Where Exactly Is “the Bay Area”?

June 19, 2018 By Egon Terplan and Sarah Jo Szambelan
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been understood as the nine counties that touch the Bay — but this border doesn’t always hold. Addressing many of our current regional challenges — such as job access, housing affordability and congestion — will require working at many scales. Given this, is the traditional nine-county definition the correct scale for SPUR's Regional Strategy project?

What Guadalupe River Park Can Learn From New York’s High Line

June 6, 2018 By Teresa Alvarado and Jaclyn Tidwell
This spring SPUR hosted Adam Ganser of Friends of the High Line to share the story of New York City’s linear park built atop a disused freight rail trestle. To help kick off a new SPUR initiative to re-imagine San Jose’s Guadalupe River Park, Ganser shared the High Line’s history, as well as lessons learned from this national model in public space development.

Strategies for San Jose’s South First Area Arts District

June 5, 2018 By Jaclyn Tidwell, San Jose Policy Director
San Jose’s South First Area has become the downtown destination for discovering visual art, food, culture, music and more. Over the last year, SPUR worked with stakeholders and compiled research to guide city and community leaders as they face growth pressures in SoFA. Together we have looked at how the city can add residential units while preserving and enhancing the unique culture of the district.

After Coyote Creek, Is San Jose Ready for Future Floods?

May 31, 2018 By Kathryn Exon Smith, Program Assistant
When Coyote Creek flooded in February 2017, it caused an estimated $73 million in property damage to San Jose homes and businesses and prompted 14,000 residents to evacuate, some by boat. At a recent SPUR forum in San Jose , local officials outlined some of the changes their organizations have made in response to the flood and its aftermath.

SPUR’s Ratna Amin Named Transportation Woman of the Year

May 29, 2018
On May 22, SPUR Transportation Policy Director Ratna Amin received the Woman of the Year award from the Women in Transportation Seminar San Francisco Chapter. Her remarks at the event, reprinted below, focused on the need for gender balance in the transportation planning and policy profession.

Downtown San Jose Growing Up — and Out

May 16, 2018 By Joshua Brett and Jaclyn Tidwell
Adopted in 2011, San Jose’s ambitious Envision 2040 plan included goals of bringing more than 10,000 new homes and nearly 50,000 jobs to downtown San Jose. Every year, SPUR reports on the progress we’re making as a city to realize these goals. This year, we’re seeing three positive trends, as well as major decisions on the horizon.

San Jose Updates Its Ambitious Plans for St. James Park

May 16, 2018 By Kathryn Exon Smith, San Jose Program Associate, and Noah Christman, Public Programming Manager
St. James Park has long been a center of civic pride for San Jose, but lately the park has battled a reputation for being unsafe and unpleasant. In 2016, the city hosted a national competition and selected CMG Landscape Architecture to reimagine the design and programming of the park. At a recent SPUR forum, CMG and other partners shared the progress made since then.

Should Oakland Tax Vacant Properties?

May 16, 2018 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
According to a recent analysis of data from the Alameda County Assessor’s Office and the City of Oakland, there are approximately 4,000 vacant parcels in Oakland. In a move that could prompt owners of these properties to build on them — and in the process generate revenue for purposes including homeless services — Oakland is considering imposing a tax on vacant properties.

It All Adds Up: The Growing Costs That Prevent New Housing in California

May 9, 2018 By Andy Bosselman
Construction costs are a growing barrier to building new housing in California. Today, experts don’t agree on the exact reasons for California’s soaring costs, which often leads to policy fights based on ideology, not facts. A new research series from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation aims to add data to the debate. At a recent SPUR forum, panelists discussed the research to date.

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