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 Committee evaluates proposals for individual buildings in San Francisco based on their potential to enhance the vitality of city life. The committee ams to create a greater constituency for good urbanism through practical example.

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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

SPUR Supports Oakland Infrastructure Bond

Policy Letter July 14, 2016
SPUR recommends that the Oakland City Council support putting the Oakland Infrastructure Bond on the November ballot. Oakland has a severe shortage of housing that grows more dire each day, a $443 million paving backlog that has put Oakland in 89th place out of 106 Bay Area cities in pavement quality, and a growing number of dated and aging park and library facilities.

What Can San Francisco Do to Address Homelessness?

News July 6, 2016
On June 29, more than 80 Bay Area media organizations contributed to an unprecedented wave of coverage on homelessness. SPUR, together with HandUp, hosted an evening forum, “Housing, Homelessness and the Way Forward for San Francisco,” to report on the challenges the city faces, uncover solutions and inspire action.

Is San Francisco Finally Ready to Make In-Law Units Legal?

News July 5, 2016
San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin recently introduced an ordinance to allow new “in law” housing units across San Francisco. Soon afterward, supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener introduced a proposal that’s similar but slightly less restrictive. We’re thrilled to see proposals to increase the city’s housing supply moving forward. Now it’s going to be important to get the details right.

Why California Accidentally Encouraged Driving, and How That's About to Change

News June 30, 2016
California cities that want to become more environmentally sustainable are being held back by, of all things, the California Environmental Quality Act. Here’s how an environmental regulation became one of the biggest forces in widening roads to accommodate more cars — and why the state is finally changing this outmoded standard.

A New Pro-Housing Generation Says “Yes In My Back Yard”

News June 30, 2016
A growing collection of like-minded urbanists from around the country have jauntily adopted the label YIMBY or “Yes In My Back Yard.” YIMBYs tend to live in cities. And the thing they most want in their backyards is housing. Last week they met at YIMBY 2016, their first-ever international conference.

What Do Three Mega Projects Tell Us About Silicon Valley’s Future?

News June 27, 2016
Santa Clara's City Place development, San Jose’s Diridon Station Area Plan and Mountain View’s North Bayshore Precise Plan seek to reshape growth in Silicon Valley. What do they tell us about the future of Silicon Valley and what do they mean for the region? Can we expect something different than auto-oriented suburbs? Are we “thinking different” — or repeating the mistakes of the past?

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