By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
The City of Oakland has $2.5 billion in unfunded capital needs, including a $443 million paving backlog. Libraries and parks need maintenance and upgrades, as do fire stations. And the city’s shortage of affordable housing is displacing long-term residents. But Measure KK, on the ballot in Oakland this November, will help to address these and other problems.
By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Measure B, on the ballot in Santa Clara County this November, would raise the sales tax by half a cent and generate $6 billion to $6.3 billion over 30 years to fund critical transportation projects in the South Bay. SPUR recommends a “yes” vote on Measure B.
By Kiyomi Honda Yamamoto, San Jose Special Projects Assistant
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, is key to health and a high quality of life. But many Bay Area residents struggle to afford these healthy ingredients. SPUR recently hosted a conversation about how to expand access to healthy food by increasing low-income families’ purchasing power in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets.
By Ellery Stritzinger, SPUR Intern
In recent years, urban agriculture has been championed as solution to some of cities’ most persistent issues: food insecurity, environmental sustainability and lack of accessible green space. At a recent SPUR forum, three panelists who run urban farming businesses and organizations explored urban agriculture’s potential to provide economic development and jobs, highlighting the challenge of economic sustainability.
By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The Bay Area is changing. We are living in an age of climate change, housing shortages, income inequality, fiscal stress and — soon — driverless cars, trucks and buses. Our local governments will not be able to take on the significant challenges of these times on their own. We need effective — even visionary — regional government to put its resources toward solving them.
By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Right now, San Jose is the midst of planning three urban villages: the Santana Row/ Valley Fair Urban Village, the Winchester Urban Village and the Stevens Creek Urban Village. SPUR led a walking tour earlier this summer to explore how the urban village plans can use key urban design concepts to create people-friendly places in this growing part of the city.
By Alyssa Kies
Jason Roberts just wanted a coffee shop and bike lane in his Dallas neighborhood. But he found that even the simplest streetscape improvements were too expensive or, worse, illegal. So Roberts and his friends got to work with duct tape and stencils. As a result, the city has since dramatically reduced permitting fees and peeled back ordinances that banned street activity.
By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
Our nation is suffering from a gaping wound reminiscent of the 1960s. During that era, my parents were active in el movimiento , working alongside Cesar Chavez to advocate for better living conditions, opportunities, safety and acceptance. My parents dreamed of a different future than we are experiencing now. We must return to being an inclusive community that provides a path to opportunity and mobility.
By Benjamin Grant, Urban Design Policy Director
There are times when the very fabric of society seems to be unraveling, and this is certainly one of them. San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas, Nice. Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling. How are those of us who think about cities to understand this moment?
By Alicia John-Baptiste, Deputy Director
When people want to know what can be done to change centuries of institutional racism and socialized prejudice, I want them to know my experience as a White mom to Black kids. As Americans, we are all socialized toward bias. In my experience you can change your part in it, and it is critically important for White people to take responsibility for doing so.