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

Earthquakes: San Francisco at Risk

Urbanist Article August 1, 2004
A disaster of epic proportions is brewing in our backyard. During our lifetime it is probable that we will face a catastrophic earthquake in the urbanized San Francisco Bay Area.

Why Can't New Buildings Be as Nice as Old Buildings?

Urbanist Article May 1, 2004
Architect David Baker examines how the existing zoning code prevents ground floors from becoming inviting spaces. He offers feasible solutions to solve this problem without reducing commercial viability.

Planning Department Reform Agenda

SPUR Report March 1, 2004
Introduction San Francisco 's planning and building process is in trouble. Funding for the Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection has been cut. Staff morale is down. The Planning Commission is overwhelmed with fights around specific development proposals and does not have enough time to work on true long-range planning. As faith in the planning and permitting process has waned, the Board of Supervisors has increasingly taken on the role of de facto Planning Commission, calling hearings on virtually every major decision the Commission has made. After so many battles over planning issues, there is a growing cynicism about the ability of City government to ever actually work out compromises or satisfactory solutions. The Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection are extremely important, they are places where many citizens and neighbors have contact with our government. Active citizens spend hundreds or even thousands of hours commenting on projects...

Remaking the Presidio's Main Parade Ground

Urbanist Article January 1, 2004
The plan to replace Doyle Drive with a new parkway that will pass underground at key locations presents an opportunity to reconnect the heart of the Presidio to Crissy Field and the Bay.

Replacing Doyle Drive

Urbanist Article January 1, 2004
Michael Alexander discusses Doyle Drive, a project that finally reached consensus after heated debate, only to be delayed by state budget woes.

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