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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Changing the Rules of the (Development) Game

January 26, 2015 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Long before the current housing crisis, SPUR and partners like the SF Housing Action Coalition and Livable City advocated for better planning codes and practices in San Francisco. Paying attention to code may not be as headline-grabbing as placing a measure on the ballot, but it’s a key factor in shaping a city’s development — and San Francisco has made some significant updates recently.

Lake Merritt: The Revival of Oakland’s Jewel

January 22, 2015 By Kathryn Mullins, SPUR intern
Oakland’s Lake Merritt is one of our grandest and most beloved examples of great public space, unique in the region and deeply embedded in its community. And after a decade of thoughtful reinvestment, it is thriving.

Governor Brown Sets Ambitious Climate Agenda for California

January 20, 2015 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
In his fourth inaugural address , Governor Jerry Brown gave climate hawks cause to celebrate the new year by proposing an ambitious energy policy agenda that will keep California at the forefront of fighting global warming for more than a decade. Brown called for 50 percent of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Unearthing the Gems in Oakland’s Cultural Heartland

January 14, 2015 By Ben Grant, SPUR Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
South of Lake Merritt, a challenging urban environment belies a wealth of assets and amenities that could form the raw material of a welcoming, integrated cultural district. SPUR has been engaged in discussions with the Oakland Museum of California ( OMCA ) and its neighbors about ways to shift community experience and perception of the area.

Stop, Pop and Stroll: PopUp Retail Successes in Oakland

January 9, 2015 By Allison Arieff, SPUR Editorial Director
It seems everyone’s abuzz about Pop-Ups these days: those retail businesses that appear suddenly, operate for a day or two—sometimes for weeks—and then disappear. Pop-ups are temporary by definition, but they can have longer-term impacts on communities. That’s becoming quite evident in Oakland, where pop-ups have proven to be a tool in the work of downtown revitalization.

What We Need to Get Right on VTA's BART Extension to Silicon Valley

December 19, 2014 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
It makes sense for Silicon Valley to have ambitions for world-class transit and great urban places. That’s why extending BART service to the South Bay has been an aspiration for a generation leaders. But getting the next project phase funded has stirred up strong feelings — and provided a reminder of all we need to keep in mind when making decisions about infrastructure investments.

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.

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