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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

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.

San Jose Approves Big Plans for Diridon Station

July 9, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Director
San Jose’s City Council approved the Diridon Station Area Plan (DSAP) after a five-year process. The DSAP focuses on dense mixed-use growth in a transit-rich infill location, includes needed improvements to the pedestrian and bicycle network and commits to better transportation management planning. However, close oversight will be important moving forward to ensure that Diridon Station becomes the transit-rich hub it was envisioned to be.

SF Poised to Create State's First Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone

July 7, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
San Francisco is once again poised to be a pioneer in urban agriculture policy. In June, Supervisor David Chiu introduced an ordinance that create California's first urban agriculture incentive zone and allow property owners who contract their land into urban agricultural use for at least five years to receive a property tax reduction

Can a New Law Free Cities From Car-Oriented Development?

June 26, 2014 By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
Why is it taking so long to retrofit our car-oriented cities to make them more walkable and bikeable? In part, it’s because of an antiquated engineering concept called “auto level of service” or LOS. Here’s how LOS came to control our built environment — and what the State of California is doing to release the hold this little-known metric has had on our cities.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Roundabouts

June 25, 2014 By Maria Bakali and Benjamin Grant
SPUR is leading a transportation study at Ocean Beach to further develop the access and circulation recommendations of the Ocean Beach Master Plan. The transportation design team has proposed a new solution for Skyline Boulevard: a series of well designed modern roundabouts.

El Niño Brewing: Rough Waters Ahead for Ocean Beach?

June 19, 2014 By Benjamin Grant and Shannon Fiala
Recent data suggest that an El Niño weather pattern may develop in the Pacific Ocean this year. El Niños typically generate wetter and more frequent winter storms in California, with potential implications for erosion at Ocean Beach. What will these storms mean for the future of the beach, and for the recommendations in SPUR’s Ocean Beach Master Plan?

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