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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Study Validates Central Subway Extension to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf

December 17, 2014 By Julienne Christensen
The case for extending San Francisco’s Central Subway project to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf got a boost in late November with the release of a new study. The new data will allow the extension to be ranked relative to other transit projects — a necessary step for it to be approved as an addition to the city’s transit system.

Steel Yourselves: The Creative Afterlife of the Former Bay Bridge

December 15, 2014 By Magda Maaoui, SPUR intern and Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
For 77 years, the 58,000 tons of steel in the Bay Bridge’s eastern span formed a vital link between Oakland and San Francisco. Now, thanks to the passion of local artists, a significant portion of former Bay Bridge steel will be reincarnated as large-scale public art.

How Are the Bay Area’s Biggest Cities Planning for Growth?

December 12, 2014 By Egon Terplan and Jennifer Warburg
In November, planning officials from San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland met to share their progress in implementing Plan Bay Area, the region's long-range vision for transportation and land use planning . How these cities manage future growth will have ramifications for the entire region.

At Last, Thousands of New Housing Units on the Way in SF

December 10, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
After years of legal and financial delays, San Francisco’s three biggest residential projects have taken steps toward becoming reality. Together, they make up most of the proposed housing units in the city’s construction pipeline . The first 88 units at the Hunters Point Shipyard are nearing the end of construction, while Parkmerced and Treasure Island, both stalled by legal action, have prevailed in court.

Oakland Clears the Path for New Urban Agriculture

December 7, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
The City of Oakland recently made it easier for urban farmers and gardeners to start new projects. On November 18, the City Council unanimously approved changes to the city planning code that clarifies what types of urban agriculture are allowed in each part of the city and expanded the areas where residents can cultivate crops and produce honey.

How Should San Jose Pay for Affordable Housing?

December 3, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Silicon Valley has become one of the most expensive housing markets nationwide, and funding for affordable housing in Santa Clara County has been steadily decreasing or stagnating. Last month the San Jose City Council approved an affordable housing impact fee to be paid by developers. Once it’s fully operational, the program is anticipated to generate between $20 and $30 million per year for affordable housing.

SF's Parks Provide Economic Benefits Approaching $1 Billion

December 3, 2014 By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
When it comes to weighing city policy priorities, parks have historically come up short on the ability to demonstrate their economic value . But San Francisco's open spaces and recreational opportunities are actually worth about $1 billion per year, according to a new report from the Trust for Public Land and the SF Parks Alliance.

Celebrating 2014: A Special Message From SPUR

December 3, 2014
2014 has been a great year for urbanism. Now is a perfect time to take stock of all we accomplished, with your support. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s what we'll be working on in the new year — and how you can help.

How Commuter Benefits Can Shift the Bay Area to a More Sustainable Future

November 25, 2014 By Erin McAuliff
More than half of commuters in the Bay Area drive alone to work every day . Similar to most regions, transportation in the Bay Area is the largest source of pollution and the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. But some real progress is being made through local commuter incentives, and now a new program will take them region wide .
Yes on D Sign from Berkeley

Why Did Berkeley Pass a Soda Tax and Not San Francisco?

November 25, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
This election, for the first time ever, a majority of voters in two American cities supported taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley voters passed their measure, while San Francisco's measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, fell short. The results raise the question: why did Berkeley’s measure do so much better than San Francisco’s? A number of factors were at play.

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