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

PARK(ing) Day, Everyday

News March 19, 2010
Mayor Gavin Newsom , Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi , DPW Director Ed Reiskin and a crowd of supporters gathered yesterday in front of Mojo Bicycle Café on Divisadero at Hayes to celebrate the opening of the city’s first of many new “parklets.” These parklets—parking spaces repurposed as lively sidewalk extensions—are part of the city’s Pavement to Parks initiative. The new Divisadero Street parklet consists of a wooden platform elevated to sidewalk height and extended across two former parking spaces. Benches, tables and chairs, planters, and bike parking fill the transformed public space. These parklets can be attributed in some respects to several years of creative PARK(ing) Day activism. PARK(ing) Day was conceived by REBAR in a single San Francisco parking space in 2005. Since then, it has been celebrated in parking spaces across San Francisco and around the world. Opening exactly six months after PARK(ing) Day 2009, the Divisadero parklet shares...

Shaping Downtown

Urbanist Article February 1, 2010
The success of downtown San Francisco is one part accident and one part good planning.

A Small-Box Paradise

Urbanist Article February 1, 2010
Because almost all of the city's neighborhood retail districts developed along streetcar routes, today they retain the essential physical bones of commercial districts perfect for strolling, shopping and supporting the basic needs of neighborhood residents getting about on foot. This is the local flavor of neighborhood shopping that San Francisco is known for.

When the Freeways Came Down

Urbanist Article February 1, 2010
On October 17, 1989 was a dark moment for the city. And yet, out of this darkness, the possibility for change emerged.

Extending the City Beautiful

Urbanist Article January 1, 2010
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Washington, D.C. was built as a celebration of democracy and civic pride. Today, planners are extending this legacy to reconnect D.C.'s "monumental core" with the rest of the city.

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