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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Is Your City (Planning) Working for Families?

October 21, 2014 by Jeff Vincent and Ratna Amin
Questions about the family friendliness of cities are bubbling up all over. At a recent SPUR forum, UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools shared the risks of ignoring kids and schools when planning cities — and the lessons learned about planning for successful family-oriented communities and high-quality schools.

Are Second Homes Driving Up San Francisco Housing Prices?

October 21, 2014 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
In cities like San Francisco, where housing is expensive and the market is competitive, emotional reactions can inform the policy debate. Is San Francisco’s housing supply being taken up by people who own units they don’t live in? Our study, Non-Primary Residences and San Francisco’s Housing Market takes an analytical approach, looking at numbers from the 2012 American Community Survey.

SPUR Hosts San Jose Mayoral Candidates Debate

October 16, 2014 By Kathryn Exon Smith and Leah Toeniskoetter
San Jose is about to choose a new mayor — a decision that will affect the city for decades to come. To help voters get to know the candidates and their positions on our issues, SPUR held a debate between the two contenders vying for the seat, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo .

More Money for Water? A Look at California Prop. 1

October 9, 2014 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
This November, after years of intense stakeholder negotiations, Proposition 1 — the latest in a decade-long series of state water bonds — will be decided by California voters. This $7.5 billion general obligation bond would fund water supply, ecosystems, water quality, groundwater cleanup, conservation, recycling and reuse. SPUR takes a look at the details of this complicated, and controversial, ballot measure.

Climate Week Injects New Energy Into Climate Action

October 9, 2014 By Jennifer Warburg, Special Projects Manager
Last week’s UN Climate Summit saw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, 125 heads of state and hundreds of business leaders converge on New York City for the most encouraging movement on climate action in years. For a movement that often stalls out in pessimism and fatigue, these events represented a surprising shift of tone — and a few reasons for hope.
Good. To Go. Banner at Emit Mini Mart in San Jose

A New Option for Healthy Food in San Jose

October 6, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
Fresh food is coming to dozens of corner stores in San Jose as part of a new “Good. To Go.” initiative that launched this September. Organized by the Health Trust and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley, the program aims to increase San Jose residents’ access to healthier food by improving the options available at smaller retailers.

How Will California Tackle Climate Change After Meeting Its 2020 Goals?

October 1, 2014 By Flavio Coppola
California’s landmark environmental bill AB 32 mandated a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The policies it set in place have worked, and the state is on track to meet its goal. But what happens after 2020? With this target date less than six years away, it’s time to set a new objective for continued success in reducing emissions.

Quick Guide to SPUR's SF Ballot Recommendations

October 1, 2014
It's election season and time for SPUR's in-depth analysis of local San Francisco ballot measures. Don't want to wade through our 30-page voter guide? Check out this quick summary of all our recommendations. For those who do want to nerd out, don't worry — we've included links to our complete analysis.

Urban Farming Is Not Making the Housing Crisis Worse

September 9, 2014 By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
A recent article in the Atlantic argues that San Francisco’s new urban agriculture property tax incentive will only exacerbate the problem of limited housing supply in an already overheated housing market. We share the author's concern about housing affordability, but his critique of this policy, which SPUR worked to pass, misses the mark.

Inspiration From Helsinki: Car-Free Living That Really Works

August 27, 2014 By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
Is the transportation always greener on the other side of the fence? Helsinki, Finland, recently announced a plan for a transit system that would make car ownership a thing of the past within the next 10 years. SPUR examines how the Bay Area could take inspiration from this integrated, single-payment, mobility-on-demand system.

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