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 Comments on the Diridon Station Area Plan Draft

Policy Letter February 13, 2014
SPUR supports the broad outlines of the City of San Jose's draft Diridon Station Area Plan. We do, however, think that the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report does not provide sufficient analysis of some of the project impacts and recommend specific areas that should be corrected, modified or further studied.

A Taste of the Future on North First Street?

Urbanist Article January 14, 2014
Samsung broke ground on a massive new headquarters for its U.S. Research and Development operations in north San Jose. More than any project to date, the new Samsung campus embraces the city’s vision of a denser, more walkable pattern along North First Street, the city’s tech employment heartland.

SPUR Weighs in on North San Jose Urban Design Guidelines

Policy Letter January 6, 2014
The North San Jose Design Guidelines, adopted by the city in 2010, encourage high quality design in new development. The San Jose City Council recently called these guidelines into question as potential barriers to commercial development. SPUR advocates that the city must strengthen — not weaken — its commitment to urban design to support San Jose's transformation into a more livable, walkable and transit-oriented city.

Getting to Great Places

SPUR Report December 12, 2013
The City of San Jose's ambitious new General Plan imagines a dramatic shift away from traditional suburban landscapes to “complete neighborhoods” that provide basic services and amenities close to homes, jobs and transit. Achieving this transformation will be a daunting challenge. SPUR diagnoses the impediments San Jose faces in creating excellent, walkable urban places and recommends changes in policy and practice to get there.

Walk This Way

Urbanist Article November 17, 2013
Silicon Valley, the most dynamic and innovative economic engine in the world, is not creating memorable urban places. The City of San Jose's ambitious new General Plan imagines a dramatic shift away from traditional suburban environments to walkable “complete neighborhoods.” SPUR looks at the impediments San Jose has faced in creating excellent, walkable urban places and recommends changes that will help meet the city's goals.

Nimble Ways to Remake City Streets

News November 13, 2013
Streets are different than highways, yet the United States delegates authority for all roadway design to a private nonprofit made up largely of highway engineers. And unfortunately, many of the principles that make for safe highways make for dangerous, dysfunctional urban streets. But a new manual released this fall, the Urban Street Design Guide , could change all this.

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