Regional Planning

Our goal: Concentrate growth inside existing cities.

SPUR's regional planning agenda:


• Focus housing growth in existing communities.
• Add new jobs in transit-accessible employment centers.
• Retrofit suburban office parks to increase density.
• Strengthen our regional agencies.
• Explore tax sharing.


Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change
  • White Paper

    Improving Regional Planning in the Bay Area

    Many attempts have been made to foster better collaboration between the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. A proposal to establish a merged planning department has again opened up the discussion about the future of regional planning in the Bay Area. SPUR recommends studying a full merger of the two agencies.

    Read More
  • Report

    Strengthening the Bay Area's Regional Governance

    The Bay Area economy has rebounded from the recession, but major regional challenges threaten our continued prosperity. SPUR makes the case that some of the biggest threats to the Bay Area’s long-term economic competitiveness are best addressed through better regional governance.

    Read More
  • Advocacy Letter

    SPUR’s Comments on Plan Bay Area

    Plan Bay Area is an important step forward in comprehensive regional planning in the Bay Area. Our comments on the plan address the gap between our vision of a more concentrated region and the tools available to achieve it.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • The Urbanist

    The Northern California Megaregion

    Northern California, home to 14 million people, is expected to add at least 10 million people by 2050. How we plan for and accommodate that growth is the defining question for urban planning in Northern California today.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Beyond the Tracks

    California cities anticipating the rewards of new high-speed rail stations may fail to reap the full economic and environmental benefits without key land-use planning. SPUR identifies strategies that will contribute to the success of high-speed rail and help realize the full potential of this multi-billion-dollar system.

    Read More
  • Find more of SPUR's regional planning research

    Read More

Updates and Events

Sacramento County Approves New Sprawl, Rejects the Sustainable Communities Strategy

News March 5, 2013
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is facing heavy criticism and a lawsuit for its decision to approve the Cordova Hills subdivision , a new development for 25,000 residents on what is now rolling hills and ranch land 22 miles east of downtown Sacramento. The development would add thousands of new homes far from the region’s center, violating the Sustainable Communities Strategy that every city and county in the region agreed upon last year. As the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) observes, the approval goes against decades of smart growth planning in the greater Sacramento area. Senate Bill 375, the 2008 statewide law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, requires each region in California to develop a coordinated plan — called a Sustainable Communities Strategy — to guide its long-term land use decisions and transportation investments. When the California Legislature approved SB 375 in 2008, many planners thought the law might...

Strengthening the Bay Area's Regional Governance

White Paper February 20, 2013
The Bay Area economy has rebounded from the recession, but major regional challenges threaten our continued prosperity. In this anlysis, written for the 2013 State of Silicon Valley conference, we make the case that some of the biggest threats to the Bay Area’s long-term economic competitiveness are best addressed through better regional governance.

Bus Rapid Transit Getting Traction on El Camino Real

News September 26, 2012
At a workshop on September 21, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board reaffirmed its support for a bus-rapid transit (BRT) project on El Camino Real in Santa Clara County. The project takes a 17.3-mile route from the HP Pavilion in San Jose through Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos and north to Palo Alto. This corridor already has the highest transit ridership in the county between the 22 local bus and the 522 rapid bus. Over the past year, the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale demonstrated their skepticism of BRT by voting against dedicated bus-only lanes on El Camino Real , the “Main Street” of Silicon Valley. Given how such local decisions can negatively impact regional transit service, the VTA board could have elected to slow down or abandon the BRT project altogether. Instead, board members decided to continue with BRT on El Camino Real in a project...

Getting High-Speed Rail On Track

Urbanist Article July 10, 2012
Much of the debate around high-speed rail revolves around federal funding. But with — or without — that revenue stream, SPUR believes that California can fund much of high speed rail on its own.

Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley

Urbanist Article July 10, 2012
As new business models continue to break the divide between content creation and distribution, SPUR considers how rail service between north and south might further facilitate creative collaboration.

The Cities of Carquinez

Urbanist Article June 3, 2012
The cities of southern Solano and eastern Contra Costa Counties are as old as the Bay Area itself. What happens if we start thinking about them as central to the future of the region as a whole?

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