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 Position on the Warriors Arena Proposal

Policy Letter October 3, 2013
The goal of the SPUR Arena Task Force is to evaluate this project according to criteria related to land use, public realm interface, building design, environmental impacts, community benefits and fiscal matters. We are seeking a combination of excellent planning, design solutions and an overall viable project so that the project can become a net positive contribution to San Francisco, while being a successful venture for its sponsors.

Design Competition Considers Life After Highway 280

News September 17, 2013
In the June issue of The Urbanist , we explored the idea of removing Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco in order to reconnect the Mission Bay and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. This summer, the Center for Architecture presented a design competition to consider what might happen next. Here’s a look at the winning entries and the ideas they propose for transforming this urban barrier into a healthy neighborhood connection.

SPUR Supports Amended 2013 San Francisco Fire Code

Policy Letter September 7, 2013
SPUR supports the repeal and replacement of the current local Fire Code with an amended 2013 San Francisco Fire Code that allows an exception to the existing air replenishment system requirement - a code change has been spurred by an interest in creating choice for the best safety measures in each building.

Connecting San Francisco's Northeast Neighborhoods

White Paper August 14, 2013
The northeast neighborhoods of San Francisco — North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf and the edges of Chinatown — have some of the city’s highest densities of residents, workers and tourist activities. Yet there are currently no major plans to increase transit capacity serving the area. SPUR convened a community workshop to assess transit needs in these neighborhoods.

Taking It to the (Multimodal) Streets

Urbanist Article August 12, 2013
No longer a utopian pursuit, the accommodation of transit, biking and walking has become professional orthodoxy— and not by accident. In cities from coast to coast, including San Francisco, “complete streets” (as multimodal streets are often called) has become a mantra.

Historic Preservation in San Francisco

SPUR Report July 11, 2013
San Francisco is a city celebrated for its progressive history, distinctive architecture and phenomenal geography. We believe it is critical to protect the historic fabric of the city, while supporting growth and change in the right locations. In this report, we describe how to fully integrate preservation into the city's processes for land use planning.

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