• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Are We Headed for an Economic Correction? Bay Area Experts Weigh In

March 9, 2016 Jennifer Warburg
What will happen with the economy in the year ahead? Are we in for a correction or recession? Every year, SPUR’s Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee gathers expert economists to try to answer these kinds of questions. The expertise of independent economists and experts from key sectors — including real estate, hospitality and retail — helps the city staff develop revenue projections for San Francisco’s budget.

Oakland’s Plan for Facing the Housing Crisis Head On

March 7, 2016 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
Oakland is experiencing a housing crisis that threatens to irrevocably change the city. Part of the problem is the imbalance between job growth and housing supply. Last year, Mayor Schaaf assembled a Housing Implementation Cabinet of housing experts, advocates and practitioners to look at the issue. Last week, the cabinet released its action plan to preserve 17,000 existing homes and create 17,000 new ones.

Save the Bay Again: Vote Yes on Measure AA

March 2, 2016 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
Measure AA, on the June ballot in all nine Bay Area counties, is a $12 parcel tax dedicated to protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay. This is a historic opportunity for the Bay Area to vote as a region and raise local revenue to protect our signature natural resource. It’s our generation’s chance to save the Bay — while there’s still time.

Holding the Line on Sprawl in Santa Clara County

March 1, 2016 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
Pressure for development at the urban edge of the Bay Area is growing. At the end of 2015, the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy in southern Santa Clara County both proposed expanding their city boundaries into farmland. Upcoming decisions on these proposals, which county analysts have called reminiscent of a bygone era, will set an important precedent for the county’s next phase of growth.

How to Pay for Transportation When the System Is Broken

February 29, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Santa Clara County’s proposed transportation sales tax has been politically contentious. But the reality is, transportation investments have not kept up with job and population growth. Meanwhile, federal and state funding for transportation has declined. We will need better transportation infrastructure in order to enjoy continued prosperity and a high quality of life — and we’re going to have to make these investments locally.

Why Market-Rate Housing Construction Matters for Low-Income Households

February 18, 2016 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Few low-income Californians will ever have the opportunity to live in a subsidized affordable housing unit. How do we help everyone else? A new paper from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office provides evidence that market-rate housing construction plays an important role for low-income households. The LAO’s data shows that urban counties nationwide with more housing construction had slower rent growth than California coastal cities.

SPUR Oakland Opens to the Public

February 9, 2016
Thank you to everyone who joined us on January 27 to mark the official opening of SPUR Oakland at 1544 Broadway. More than 500 people came by throughout the day to welcome SPUR to Oakland. We were proud to introduce our community-oriented space, one where Oakland residents can learn from one another and share ideas about the future of their city.

Shoreline Redesign: the India Basin Design Competition

February 9, 2016 By Mike Jacobson
Located on San Francisco’s eastern edge, India Basin Shoreline Park is full of promise and begging for attention. The parks department and the Trust for Public Land have launched a design competition to help realize the park’s potential. The five finalists recently presented their design proposals at SPUR.

(A Little) More Housing for Everyone

January 21, 2016 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Listening to some San Francisco advocates, it’s easy to get the impression that the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program will dramatically alter the city overnight. But this ignores two key factors. First, the program has been very thoughtfully crafted to add housing without displacing anyone. Second, the length of the building cycle means these changes will happen gradually, over two decades or more.

Merge Regional Agencies to Address Common Problems

January 19, 2016 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The Bay Area is on the cusp of the biggest change in regional planning in decades. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have just begun a study into how they might merge. Our editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle explains why this is the right move for the region.

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