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

Datablog: Does Unemployment Equal More Crime?

News July 6, 2010
Crime and unemployment: two things cities consistently battle with, but rarely like to talk about. While it may seem like these two issues are linked, with crime rising out of necessity, GOOD's recent infographic shows that a positive correlation may not exist. Working with Part and Parcel, a small design firm in New York, GOOD's Transparency graphic confronts this issue in a very direct manner. Using the FBI's crime data going back to 1989, this graphic sorts crime into two categories: violent and property crime. "¨"¨ [Image Credit: GOOD Magazine, Part & Parcel] Stand-Out Facts: "¨"¨ As unemployment rose from 5.8 to 9.3 from 2008 to 2009, property crime dropped 6%"¨"¨ Violent crime has dropped 44% from 1991 to 2009"¨"¨ This infographic succeeds in describing a few complex problems and dispels the notion that as unemployment rises, crime would inevitably increase. In its simplicity, however, the graphic fails to provide...

Organizing for Economic Growth

SPUR Report June 7, 2010
San Francisco has successfully adjusted to many economic changes in its past, but the city's economic development system is not yet working as well as it needs to. The city faces a major question about how to organize and pay for economic development work. This memorandum explores what the appropriate model should be for carrying out business formation, retention and attraction in San Francisco.

A Gem of the Green Movement, Emerald Cities Published Last Week

News April 6, 2010
In Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development , Joan Fitzgerald, director of the Law, Policy and Society Program at Northeastern University, showcases how some cities have taken the lead in creating policy that is mutually beneficial to both the environment and economic development. Ms. Fitzgerald spoke on this subject and introduced her book at SPUR, this past November 17th . According to Joan Fitzgerald, it has fallen to cities around the world to embrace the challenge of sustainability, because national governments have failed to come to an agreement on a global policy. The lack of any significant outcome from the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year serves to underscore the matter: you cannot effect environmental change without addressing the underlying issues of how that change affects disparate groups. It is not surprising that San Francisco is one of the cities responding to the call to take these economic...

T4A: Create Jobs by Investing in Transportation

News February 19, 2010
Public transportation gets millions of Americans to and from their jobs every day. Transportation for America , a national public-transit and smart-growth advocacy organization, thinks investing in our transportation sector can create jobs as well. In response to the jobs bill now working its way through the Senate , which would largely offer tax cuts to small businesses, T4A has proposed instead that funding be put toward projects such as: $16 billion for transit $8.1 billion for the Surface Transportation Program (highways) $9.8 billion for competitive grants, such as TIGER grants $1.5 billion for bike and pedestrian facilities to make walking and biking safer and more attractive. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute agrees that the T4A plan would be effective . EPI has stated that such projects would spur significant job creation, particularly among the economically disadvantaged and those without higher education. As Bay Area transit-and-smart-growth advocate TransForm recently reported,...

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.

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