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

Managing Transportation to Create Great Places

Urbanist Article July 28, 2015
Two of the best examples of urbanism in San Jose are Santana Row and Westfield Valley Fair, wildly successful retail, commercial and residential destinations that pull in millions of visitors from all over the region. As these projects prepare to expand, opportunities for enhancing transit and walkability in San Jose can, too.

Big Challenges Ahead for the Port of Oakland

Urbanist Article June 9, 2015
After a half century of industrialization, the good-paying, blue-collar job has become an endangered species in the United States. But it persists in some places, and one of the most important in the Bay Area is the Port of Oakland. An understanding of the Port’s complicated infrastructure and policy agenda is essential for anyone concerned about maintaining middle-wage jobs and the region’s overall economic competitiveness.

An Up Market Brings Housing, but Not Jobs, to Downtown San Jose

News May 7, 2015
2014 was the hottest recent year for real estate in downtown San Jose. Hundreds of residential units broke ground in new apartment towers, with several thousand more approved. While high-density housing in the transit-rich downtown is great, the city also needs to keep in mind the long-term availability of land for jobs — specifically sites that can accommodate large office buildings near future BART stations.

Prosperity and Opportunity in the Bay Area’s Innovation Economy

News March 2, 2015
The Bay Area’s “innovation economy” — i.e., the high-tech sector — is thriving. Though longtime observers are right to wonder when the next crash will happen, the region’s current boom has some fundamental qualities that hint prosperity will continue. This time of expansion is an opportunity to acknowledge some of the challenges associated with economic growth.

Top Analysts Predict Another Year of Growth for SF Economy

News February 20, 2015
Each February, SPUR’s Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee brings together top economists and city staff to forecast what San Francisco’s economy will do in the year ahead. The expertise of independent economists and experts from key sectors — including real estate, hospitality and retail — helps the city develop revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year. Here’s a look at what they see ahead.

San Francisco’s Economic Recovery: 2010-2013

Urbanist Article December 17, 2014
In 2013, San Francisco reached a historic peak in employment, and from what we know so far, 2014 will reach even higher. In fact, San Francisco has never seen a more rapid three-year period of expansion in jobs than the period between 2010 and 2013, when the city added more than 70,000 jobs.

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