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

When Modernism was Futuristic

News May 13, 2009
What did modernist planning and architecture look like from the perspective of the modernist? It was progressive, forward-thinking—and may have had more in common with contemporary planning than we'd care to admit. A 1959 time capsule recently unearthed in Burbank included these predictions by a local city planner: in 50 years, seven of every eight residents would be living in garden apartments made of plastic, and incorporated into mixed-use complexes; and a “rapid monorail” system would connect “metro centers” including malls. These ideas have more space-age characteristics than our current thinking (we have no goal to inhabit plastic pods, have automated parking at every destination or live in homes connected to a shopping mall), but the ambition of having an urban density connected to mass transit is still alive. Perhaps another 50 years will realize our ideas.

Reinventing America's cities

News March 30, 2009
Nicolai Ouroussoff presents one of the most cogent arguments for reinvestment in our cities ever written in the New York Times. His vision is eco-urbanist, to use a term to describe the current era of urban planning, prevalent today after a half dozen previous eras that will be explicated brilliantly in the exhibit to mark the grand opening of SPUR's Urban Center

The Future of Downtown San Francisco

SPUR Report March 2, 2009
How can we bring more jobs into the region's most transit-rich employment center? SPUR proposes a sustainable plan for transit-oriented job growth in the Bay Area.

Secrets of San Francisco

SPUR Report January 1, 2009
Dozens of office buildings in San Francisco include privately owned public open spaces -- or "POPOS." Some are merely provisional, while others are hidden gems.

Imagining Islais Creek

SPUR Report September 1, 2008
One of San Francisco's most important water bodies, Islais Creek comprises most of the southeastern sector of the city. Over the last decade, the area has fallen into a state of disrepair. Sara Jensen, SPUR's 2008 Piero N. Patro Fellow, proposes a concept plan for a food center to enliven this area of the city's eastern waterfront.

The Long Road Home

Urbanist Article July 31, 2008
Now that the first Better Neighborhoods Plan has been formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors, the time has come for us to ask what we can learn from this seemingly epic process.

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