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PARK(ing) Day 2010

September 22, 2010
PARK(ing) Day 2010 was a resounding success -- at SPUR, in San Francisco and around the world . SPUR's PARK(ing) spot used milk crates, giant wooden spools, house plants and a colorful painted canvas to transform two parking spaces in front of the Urban Center into a delightful urban park. Friends of the Urban Forest kindly donated trees; Rebar lent us Bushwaffle and a section of their Walklet (both featured in our current exhibit, DIY Urbanism: Testing the grounds for social change ). Stay tuned for our time-lapse video of the event. All photos by Colleen McHugh.

Parklet Request for Proposals Announced by SF Planning Department

September 21, 2010 BY KIT HODGE
The Divisadero Street parklet in front of Mojo Cafe. Last Friday at a noontime forum at SPUR, the San Francisco Planning Department announced the release of a Request For Proposals for parklets, due October 18. Anyone interested in installing a parklet in front of your business or institution should download the application and program overview here . Pass along the information to businesses and other institutions that you think could be good parklet hosts. October 18th is right around the corner! Spearheaded by the Planning Department's Pavement to Parks Program, parklets offer a unique opportunity to widen a sidewalk, providing public space for people to sit and relax. The SPUR forum was designed to help business owners and other potential applicants learn more about the parklet RFP. To learn more about existing parklets, click here. To learn more about the impact of parklets, click here. For any questions or information,...

Datablog: What it Takes to Get There

September 20, 2010 BY JORDAN SALINGER
Click to enlarge Commute times to zip code 94105 (SOMA) in San Francisco To the dismay of many a futurist envisioning the world in 2010, the vast majority of people commute significant distances to their jobs. Although the recent recession has led to reduced vehicle miles traveled , the average American still commutes 46 minutes a day. And while we don't always have a choice about where we work and live, commuting reflects both the successes and limitations of our transportation network and our housing supply. This interactive map , created by Harry Kao, uses the familiar google maps layout to shed light on commuting times across the nation. How to use it: This commuting map is simple. Before starting you are prompted to enter the zip code of where you commute. With that basic information, a screen displays multiple red dots, each dot represents another zip code, with the...

PARK(ing) Day is Tomorrow! Print out our Map of Participating Sites

September 16, 2010
PARK(ing) Day is a yearly, worldwide event that encourages urban residents to transform parking spots into temporary public spaces. SPUR's PARK(ing) Day map includes particpating PARK(ing) sites, as well as a detailed list of spots. Download the pdf here to print out your own copy. Be sure to stop by SPUR's PARK(ing) spot in front of 654 Mission Street for music, activities and conversation tomorrow, 11a.m. - 2:30p.m.

Crosstown Bicycling Could Become Realistic Option for San Francisco Residents Aged "8 to 80"

September 15, 2010 BY FABIANA MEACHAM
What would it take to transform San Francisco into a world-class bicycling city? More bike racks? More designated green lanes? Fewer hills? San Francisco is already one of the premiere biking cities in the country: bicycling has increased over 50% since 2006, and last year saw over 8,000 bicyclists on the city's streets. San Francisco was recently ranked the sixth most bike-friendly city in America. But most San Francisco residents are not riding their bicycles. Last week's lunch forum, "Crosstown bikeways," hosted by Andy Thornley and Renee Rivera of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition , posed the question: "What is it going to take to get your neighbors, boss, coworkers and in-laws to ride bikes?" The SF Bicycle Coalition publicly debuted its "Connecting the City" campaign at SPUR last week, featuring routes that would allow residents to cross the entire city by bike. Borrowing a slogan from Gil Peñalosa ,...

San Jose Then and Now

September 14, 2010 BY TIMOTHEA TWAY
Many who joined the latest SPUR study trip to San Jose were impressed to see how much the city has changed physically in the past few decades. These changes have helped accommodate considerable population growth - San Jose grew from under 100,000 residents in 1950 to 460,000 in 1970 to nearly 800,000 today. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments, San Jose will add approximately 400,000 more people from now until 2035, which will no doubt result in even more dramatic physical changes in the city. Many of these changes also reflect the city's attempts to transform itself from a suburban auto-oriented place to a vibrant, dense, transit rich city. Santa Clara Street at Fourth looking East, 1975 and 2006. [All photos via Buena Vista Neighborhood Association] Market Street at San Fernando looking southeast, 1975 and 2006. The Circle of Palms and the Fairmont Hotel are in the background...

Exploring future job centers of the Bay Area: Mission Bay as urban tech park

September 13, 2010 - posted by Ed Parillon
Across the Bay Area, only one in 10 commuters takes transit to work each day. And half of those transit commuters go to one job center: downtown San Francisco . But since most work is outside of downtowns, SPUR is trying to understand a little more about emerging suburban and non-downtown job centers . This post is the first in an occasional series that will look at the Bay Area's evolving and emerging business districts. For each employment district, we will ask four main questions: The Location: Where is this place located? How far or near to major transit? And how large from one end to the other? The Plan: What was the planning vision for this place? Was it master-planned? Did it grow up organically? The Market: What kinds of jobs and companies are located there? The Commute: How are workers getting to their jobs each day and why?...

Californians to Drive Less to Meet Emissions Targets

September 9, 2010 BY JORDAN SALINGER
[Photo Credit: flickr user sandy kemsley ] This post is the first in an occasional series that hopes to make sense of the issues surrounding the implementation of California's smart growth law, SB 375 . California's future demographic reality is clear. We will grow — perhaps not as quickly as in recent decades — but we will nonetheless continue to increase our population. The state projects a population of 44 million by 2020 and well over 51 million by 2035. Even if the recent economic downturn results in slower future population growth, the question still remains: how do we manage this growth with minimal environmental impact? For much of the past century, this growth was accompanied by increased auto use. But California's 2008 smart growth law, SB 375 — now being implemented throughout the state — proposes a different approach. A key recent policy decision relates to "Greenhouse gas reduction...

DIY Urbanism: When a Recession Creates a Canvas

September 8, 2010 POSTED BY ED PARILLON
DIY Urbanism is a movement that arose in part from projects born out of the recession and resulting limited funds. But one project that has a more direct link than most is the San Francisco Arts Council's Art in Storefronts program . The economic downturn brought with it an uptick in empty storefronts, causing some harder-hit commercial strips to look blighted. Art in Storefronts seeks to counteract this by using art installations to enliven these vacant spaces. Efforts in the Mission, SOMA, the Tenderloin and Chinatown have been popular with merchants and pedestrians alike, and the SFAC has worked to make the installations into attractions in their own right, including publishing walking tour maps. The Ms. Teriosa fortune-telling window in the Mission [Photo courtesy SFAC ] The recession has also hit other cities, of course, and many of these are trying similar approaches. In New York, groups like Chashama and...

DIY Urbanism: Outdoor Living Rooms Improve Neighborhoods without Resorting to Gentrification

September 7, 2010 By Anika Jesi
Improving an inner-city neighborhood without setting it up for gentrification could be as simple as placing a few wooden seats on the sidewalk. Or at least that's the premise of architect Steve Cancian's Outdoor Living Rooms, a project featured in SPUR's new show at the Urban Center, DIY Urbanism: Testing the grounds for social change .

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