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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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?

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More

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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More

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?

    Read More

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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More

Advanced Search

  • Find more of SPUR's community planning research

    Read More

Updates and Events

Civic Planning in America

Urbanist Article May 1, 2007
Can a politics of place help overcome California's increasingly divisive and dysfunctional politics? This paper explores several geographic scales for “reinventing California” through improving civic engagement.

What's the Correct Balance Between Housing and Jobs?

Urbanist Article March 1, 2007
San Francisco should heed the lessons of Vancouver's downtown residential boom: the "living first" policy allowed residential building to outpace office building, resulting in backwards commuting and higher office space rents.

Form Foils Function

Urbanist Article January 1, 2007
How our process prevents real planning — and what we can do about it

The Chicago Central Area Plan

Urbanist Article August 1, 2006
For the past 100 years, when planners spoke of “the Chicago Plan,” chances are they had in mind the Burnham Plan of 1909. Well, today there is another plan of note: The Chicago Central Area Plan of 2003.

From Railyard to Neighborhood: The Rise of Mission Bay

Urbanist Article August 1, 2005
Six years ago Mission Bay was home to a trailer park and the sprawling half-empty Port of San Francisco Maintenance Facility. The bridges linking the empty lots to the north to the empty lots to the south were seismic hazards. Today this 300-acre former railyard is being converted into a new UCSF campus, 6,000 homes and millions of square feet of commercial space.

The Greening of Mission Bay

Urbanist Article August 1, 2005
The chance to build Mission Bay with sustainable buildings is a rare opportunity, but some developers are missing out. This article discusses the greener features of the redevelopment plan.

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on Community Planning projects and events.

Sign up for our email newsletters