Economic Development

Our goal: Lay the foundations of economic prosperity — for everyone.

SPUR's economic development agenda:

• Grow our own firms; don't try to lure them from other places.
• Make sure the high cost of locating in the Bay Area is worth it.
• Align workforce and economic development strategies.
• Strengthen our public education system.
• Maintain enough industrial land.

Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change
  • SPUR Report

    Economic Prosperity Strategy

    The Bay Area has one of the strongest economies in the world, but its benefits are not universally shared. How can we make sure the region’s rising economic tide lifts all boats? We identify a three-pronged approach to economic mobility for low- and moderate-wage workers.

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  • Ongoing Initiative

    The Future of Work

    In the last three decades, employment has spread from city centers to car-centric, low-density office parks. How can we move more jobs to places served by transit? SPUR looks at how to make this shift while strengthening innovation, job growth and the prosperity of the Bay Area.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Francisco

    To achieve a low-carbon future, Bay Area residents need to be able to commute to work without a car. Our best strategy is to channel more employment into existing centers, particularly transit-rich downtown San Francisco. SPUR proposes a sustainable plan for transit-oriented job growth in the Bay Area.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Jose

    Downtown San Jose is the densest, most walkable, most transit-oriented place in the South Bay. It’s now poised to benefit from the growing trend toward working and living in urban centers. But downtown needs more people. SPUR identifies six strategies for a more successful and active downtown.

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  • SPUR Report

    A Downtown for Everyone

    Downtown Oakland is enjoying a renaissance, but the future is not guaranteed. An economic boom could stall before it gets going — or take off in a way that harms Oakland’s character, culture and diversity. We propose five big ideas for how downtown Oakland can grow while providing benefits to all.

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  • SPUR Report

    Organizing for Economic Growth

    San Francisco faces a major question about how to organize and pay for economic development work. SPUR explores what the city’s model should be for carrying out business formation, retention and attraction.

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  • Find more of SPUR's economic development research

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Updates and Events

Bay Area Work Trends Lead to Increased Density

News March 30, 2011
Co-working studio [Photo by flickr user ahopsi] According to a piece in Sunday’s Chronicle, tech employment in San Francisco is approaching its dot-com peak : "The city had an estimated 32,180 tech jobs last year, compared with 34,116 in 2000, according to an analysis of state employment data by real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle. In 2004, the number of tech jobs had fallen to 18,210." The most interesting thing about the growth in jobs is that it hasn’t been accompanied by proportionate growth in office space; while dot-com companies occupied 325 square feet per worker in 2000, today they occupy about 175, and that number has been falling each year . The Chronicle speculates that this is driven by the relative frugality among today’s dot-coms, which is certainly possible. While there are lots of companies out there, venture capital firms have generally been making smaller investments during this cycle...

Treasure Island Moves Forward to Planning Commission

News March 2, 2011
Plans for Treasure Island are moving forward to the Planning Commission in March. SPUR is a big supporter of this plan, which will create 8,000 units of housing, 30 percent of which will be affordable, and 450,000 square feet of retail space; rehabilitate historic structures; create 300 acres of open space; and add new ferry service. We especially like the way in which the proposed new development is clustered around the new ferry terminal, as opposed to dispersed across the island. Interested in lending your support to this important project? Contact Sarah Karlinsky at skarlinsky@spur.org . More information is available here .

Re-thinking Redevelopment

News January 24, 2011
Our new governor is proposing to eliminate redevelopment in California. Yesterday, SPUR's executive director, Gabriel Metcalf, weighed in on the debate with an opinion piece in the Chronicle , arguing that we should reform, rather than eliminate, redevelopment.

Obama Talks Infrastructure

News October 19, 2010
In a speech last week on infrastructure investment, President Obama recommitted his administration to a "fundamental overhaul" of the nation's infrastructure, following up on a previous Labor Day announcement that had excited smart growth advocates and set off speculation about the form such a "second stimulus" or "infrastructure bank" would take.

Sharing the Wealth

Urbanist Article August 1, 2010
Facing the loss of over 50,000 jobs since the onset of the 2008 recession, the City of San Jose embarked on a major update of its economic strategy. What is San Jose's approach to regaining the jobs and revenue it has lost while also investing for future success?

Waves of Innovation

Urbanist Article August 1, 2010
Facing the prospect of extraordinary population and job growth, San Jose planners have a choice: to let the city grow out, or up. How will they retrofit San Jose's car-oriented development pattern into thriving, walkable communities?

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