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

Windfall for All

News November 20, 2009
Study after study has shown that cities prioritize development that lets visitors and residents walk, bicycle, or take public transit to get around, people are healthier and have far less negative impact on the environment . Now, a new study by TransForm entitled Windfall for All demonstrates another benefit to developing livable communities: people who do not use cars to get around spend far less money on transportation than people who do. Citing AAA estimates, the report shows that, on average, it costs $8,097 per year to own, maintain, register, insure, and fuel a vehicle. In all, individuals in the Bay Area spend $34 billion on private transportation, most of which on owning and operating cars. Especially in current tough economic conditions , finding ways to cut costs is critical, and that includes money spent on transportation. Yet many Bay Area towns and cities have prioritized development that not only...

Emerald Cities: How are Cities Advancing the Shift to a Green Economy?

News November 10, 2009
[Image: Green roof in Toronto from urbanneighbourhood ] How can cities best position themselves in the green economy? What is the role of manufacturing in urban areas? How can a city best choose an economic development strategy given its size and unique economic history? How should federal policy support policy innovation among cities? Join us for an evening discussion with nationally-recognized visiting writer and professor Joan Fitzgerald . She will give us a preview of her new book , Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development , to be published by Oxford University Press in early 2010. In the book, Joan Fitzgerald shows how in the absence of a comprehensive national policy, cities have taken the lead in addressing the interrelated environmental problems of global warming, pollution, energy dependence, and social justice. Her analysis includes a comparison of 24 cities throughout the United States - major cities like New York,...

XERO Dallas

News October 30, 2009
On October 29, architects David Baker and Amit Price Patel of David Baker + Partners Architects and David Fletcher from Fletcher Studio presented Xero Energy, their winning entry in the Re:Vision Dallas competition. Sponsored by Urban Re:Vision of San Francisco , the competition asked designers to propose a fully sustainable city block. The proposal envisions an array of energy-conservation and -generation methods used in concert to reduce the overall energy "footprint" of the building, from photovoltaic panels and geothermal energy generation to on-site community agriculture that would reduce the distance -- and concomitant fossil fuel use -- of residents' food. In reaching for sustainability, the Xero Energy proposal reached far beyond the 2.4-acre site they were assigned to work on as well, presenting a vision of an expansive greenway and connections to Union Station, a handsome Beaux-Arts rail station nearby . The full Xero Energy proposal can be seen here...

Planning Historians Unite! (This Weekend!)

News October 16, 2009
It's not too late to catch some sessions at the National Conference in Planning History taking place at the Oakland Marriott this weekend. Organized by the Society for American City and Regional Planning History, many of the panels and tours are focused on the Bay Area, as well as their Sunday tours, which include "Historical Development and Ethnic Change in Oakland," "Urban Renewal in San Francisco" and "North of the Golden Gate: Growth Control, Open Space, and Alternative Agriculture on the Urban Fringe." The Marriott is an easy two blocks from the Oakland City Center BART station.

Megaregions and America’s Economic Recovery

Urbanist Article September 1, 2009
How the nation emerges from this recession in terms of the structure of its economy, infrastructure, energy supply, and approach to the natural environment will determine our ability to compete and prosper in the 21st century.

The Future of the Bay Delta

Urbanist Article September 1, 2009
Planning efforts to address the Delta’s complex ecosystem and water supply crisis may also greatly enhance the Delta’s open space values.

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