By Kathryn Exon Smith and Jaclyn Tidwell
New technology, changing demographics and shifting consumer preferences have caused a slump in sales at big-box stores, traditional shopping malls and downtown storefronts across the country. But innovative uses of space and new approaches to drawing customers into stores show signs of promise. A recent SPUR forum in San Jose explored how retailers are finding success locally.
By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Oaklanders have been willing to tax themselves heavily over the years, but it’s never enough to provide an adequate level of services. The need for more, and the inability to deliver it, has been a defining characteristic of the city for the last few decades. How can Oakland change this? By growing its job and tax revenue bases.
By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
Thousands of people in Santa Clara County have been earning and redeeming Double Up Food Bucks for fruits and vegetables at participating grocery stores. Our program has been working well, but because Double Up Food Bucks are distributed on paper coupons, they can be cumbersome. A new bill would address the issue and pave the way to scale programs like Double Up statewide.
By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
Many have asked how Oakland’s publicly owned land might be put to use to create affordable housing. The city is now working with a community coalition to develop a new policy for how public land is used. At issue is whether prioritizing affordable housing on public land would pit affordability against other important imperatives like generating funding for city services and creating well-paying local jobs.
By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
Nuclear power and the future of California’s electricity grid made the news last week with the announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved closing Diablo Canyon, the state’s last operating nuclear power plant. SPUR wrote about this promising idea in our 2016 report Fossil-Free Bay Area .
By Laura Tolkoff and Teresa Alvarado
The remaking of Diridon Station is the most important city-building opportunity San Jose will get for a long time. But the amount of growth planned for the area is limited by the station’s proximity to the Mineta San Jose Airport and its flight paths. Can San Jose get more space near the station for jobs and housing? Preliminary analysis by SPUR and SOM says yes.
By Joshua Brett
Like San Jose’s South First Area, Miami’s Wynwood District leveraged the arts to transform an underutilized neighborhood into a successful mix of galleries, nightclubs and restaurants. Today rising rents risk driving away the very artists that made Wynwood such a unique and attractive place. As large-scale development comes to downtown San Jose and SoFA, what lessons can the city learn from Wynwood’s story?
By Jaclyn Tidwell, San Jose Policy Director
From Copenhagen to Los Angeles, cities are finding new ways to address their interconnected health, climate, congestion, equity and economic challenges through innovative thinking about public spaces. At November’s San Jose Public Life Summit , urbanist and public design advocate Gil Peñalosa challenged leaders and residents in San Jose to move forward with ambitious projects that support sustainable mobility, vibrant public spaces and civic engagement.
By Gabriel Metcalf, SPUR President
The Bay Area has become a central player in the story of our country. First because we are coming up with the innovations that are disrupting the economy and people’s lives. Second because we represent an alternative path, a model of progressive urbanism. Our task is to make that model really work — and we're not as far away as we might think.
Abdi Soltani is a nationally recognized civil rights leader whose work with the ACLU of Northern California has helped transform California into one of the nation's most progressive states. With his leadership, the ACLU has cultivated partnerships with communities most directly impacted by injustice, and developed a presence in the Central Valley and in Sacramento.