Community Planning

Our goal: Build great neighborhoods.

SPUR's community planning agenda:

• Conduct neighborhood planning within a regional context.
• Preserve our most important historic resources while allowing for growth and change.
• Create new buildings that exemplify the highest quality architecture.
• Make public spaces that people love to spend time in.

Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change

Neighborhood Planning

  • SPUR Report

    Taking Down a Freeway to Reconnect a Neighborhood

    Highway 280 and the Caltrain railyards create barriers between SoMa, Potrero Hill and Mission Bay. But San Francisco has the opportunity to advance bold new ideas to enhance both the transportation system and the public realm.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Francisco

    The movement of jobs to suburban office parks is as much of a threat to the environment as residential sprawl — if not a greater one. Our best strategy is to channel more job growth to existing centers, like transit-rich downtown San Francisco.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Jose

    Downtown San Jose is the most walkable, transit-oriented place in the South Bay. But it needs more people. SPUR identifies six big ideas for achieving a more successful and active downtown.

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  • SPUR Report

    A Downtown for Everyone

    Downtown Oakland is poised to take on a more important role in the region. But the future is not guaranteed. An economic boom could stall — or take off in a way that harms the city’s character, culture and diversity. How can downtown grow while providing benefits to all?

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  • Urbanist Article

    The Future of the Berryessa BART Station

    As BART arrives in Silicon Valley, San Jose has a unique chance to shape growth around its first station. Land uses that support BART ridership will be key to the success of Berryessa Station — and the future of the area around it.

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Public Spaces

  • SPUR Report

    Getting to Great Places

    San Jose's ambitious General Plan imagines a dramatic shift away from suburban landscapes to “complete neighborhoods” that provide services and amenities close to homes, jobs and transit. SPUR recommends changes in policy and practice to get there.

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  • White Paper

    A Roadmap for St. James Park

    Like older downtown parks throughout the country, San Jose’s St. James Park has suffered from disinvestment in recent years. SPUR recommends steps to create a renewed vision for the park through improved stewardship and governance.

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  • SPUR Report

    Secrets of San Francisco

    Dozens of office buildings in San Francisco include privately owned public open spaces or “POPOS.” SPUR evaluates these spaces and lays out recommendations to improve existing POPOS and guide the development of new ones.

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  • Piero N. Patri Fellowship

    The Piero N. Patri Fellowship in Urban Design offers firsthand experience working in the urban design and planning field on a project that will have a positive impact on San Francisco and the Bay Area.

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Historic Resources

  • SPUR Report

    Historic Preservation in San Francisco

    San Francisco's distinctive architecture is one of its great assets. It’s critical to protect this historic fabric while supporting growth and change in the right locations. How can the city integrate preservation into its processes for land use planning?

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New Buildings

  • Project Review

    SPUR'S Project Review Advisory Board looks at Bay Area development proposals of citywide or regional importance, evaluating their potential to enhance the vitality of their city and region according to SPUR’s policy priorities and principles of good placemaking.

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  • White Paper

    Cracking the Code

    Great urban design is essential to creating sustainable, walkable cities. But some city codes undermine urban design principles. How might San Jose raise the bar? By addressing the ground rules of design within the municipal code.

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Advanced Search

  • Find more of SPUR's community planning research

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Updates and Events

How New Approaches to the Storefront Are Reviving Retail

News February 16, 2018
New technology, changing demographics and shifting consumer preferences have caused a slump in sales at big-box stores, traditional shopping malls and downtown storefronts across the country. But innovative uses of space and new approaches to drawing customers into stores show signs of promise. A recent SPUR forum in San Jose explored how retailers are finding success locally.

Oakland Needs More — Here’s How to Get It

News February 15, 2018
Oaklanders have been willing to tax themselves heavily over the years, but it’s never enough to provide an adequate level of services. The need for more, and the inability to deliver it, has been a defining characteristic of the city for the last few decades. How can Oakland change this? By growing its job and tax revenue bases.

What’s the Best Use for Oakland’s Publicly Owned Land?

News January 17, 2018
Many have asked how Oakland’s publicly owned land might be put to use to create affordable housing. The city is now working with a community coalition to develop a new policy for how public land is used. At issue is whether prioritizing affordable housing on public land would pit affordability against other important imperatives like generating funding for city services and creating well-paying local jobs.

Big City, Big Airport: How San Jose Can Have Both

News January 11, 2018
The remaking of Diridon Station is the most important city-building opportunity San Jose will get for a long time. But the amount of growth planned for the area is limited by the station’s proximity to the Mineta San Jose Airport and its flight paths. Can San Jose get more space near the station for jobs and housing? Preliminary analysis by SPUR and SOM says yes.

Lessons from Wynwood: A Case Study on Urban Arts Districts

News January 11, 2018
Like San Jose’s South First Area, Miami’s Wynwood District leveraged the arts to transform an underutilized neighborhood into a successful mix of galleries, nightclubs and restaurants. Today rising rents risk driving away the very artists that made Wynwood such a unique and attractive place. As large-scale development comes to downtown San Jose and SoFA, what lessons can the city learn from Wynwood’s story?

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