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.

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  • 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

Arcade Fire's new album tackles suburban sprawl, providing compelling city planning commentary

News August 18, 2010
Sprawl, conformity, car culture, ennui, decay. These are a few of the themes Arcade Fire tackles in its third album, The Suburbs , released last week. At times nostalgic and at times cautionary, The Suburbs may be most notable (certainly in the realm of SPUR's blog) as an example of city planning commentary in pop culture. As an NPR review put it, "the members of Arcade Fire have always been fascinated by the subtle ways geography informs our lives." Their newest album weaves a sense of suburban space and place throughout its 16 tracks. Band front man Win Butler sings of how "First they built the road, then they built the town. / That's why we're still driving round and round." Much of the inspiration for the album comes from Butler's youth spent in the suburbs of Houston in the 1980s. And as with Arcade Fire's other notable excursions into...

Getting High Speed Rail Right-Enough

News August 6, 2010
The California High Speed Rail Authority met yesterday in San Francisco. The agenda was packed with many interesting things including a new station area development policy . But the real controversy was about the section between San Jose and San Francisco . I joined hundreds of people during public comment to weigh in on this one small segment. Over the past few years, a group of high speed rail opponents has been gathering strength in some of the Peninsula communities such as Atherton and Menlo Park, arguing that the train will impact their views, be too noisy, and otherwise ruin their quality of life. There is certainly a lot of design work to do as the High Speed Rail Authority and Caltrain explore the peninsula segment and figure out how to make "joint operations" work. But what some of the residents of the Peninsula seem to be asking for is...

San Jose and San Francisco at a Glance

Urbanist Article August 1, 2010
Each spring, SPUR takes an annual city trip to learn about urbanist strategies that are working — or not working — in other cities around the world. This year we turned our lense to our own region and hopped on a Caltrain baby bullet to San Jose. With a population of about one million, San Jose is now the largest city in Northern California. In a generation it could have twice the population of San Francisco. Here's a look at the differences and similiarities today between the populations of San Jose and San Franicsco. Click any image to enlarge. Sources: All data from 2006-2008 American Community Survey, Census Quick Facts , except the following: Population: San Jose Planning Data , ABAG Building Momentum; Share of Region: Bay Area Census , Bay Area Census: San Francisco County , San Jose PLanning Data , ABAG Building Momentum; Work Location: 2010 San Jose Economic Develpment Strategy.

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?

Retrofitting Suburbia, San Jose Style

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?

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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