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.

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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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  • 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

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Updates and Events

Keeping California on Track

Urbanist Article June 1, 2007
Building high-speed rail in California could reinforce cities as the hubs of our economies and significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. So why is the proposal languishing?

Framing the Future of Downtown San Francisco

Urbanist Article March 1, 2007
Downtown San Francisco is the region’s best chance of getting people to work without a car. But to add more jobs, downtown must overcome limits in zoning and transit capacity.

The Chicago Central Area Plan

Urbanist Article August 1, 2006
For the past 100 years, when planners spoke of “the Chicago Plan,” chances are they had in mind the Burnham Plan of 1909. Well, today there is another plan of note: The Chicago Central Area Plan of 2003.

Regional Planning Without Regional Government

Urbanist Article July 1, 2004
This article describes the fragmentation of regional agencies in the Bay Area, how this differs in San Diego, and why merging regional transit operators is potentially the most important reform.

Projections 2003: A Review and Critique

Urbanist Article September 1, 2003
This article reviews and critiques changes to ABAG's growth projections since 1999 when SPUR argued for using policy-based alternatives.

ABAG and MTC: Closer to Coordination?

Urbanist Article September 1, 2003
This article reviews various efforts to merge ABAG and MTC and argues that the most likely outcome is informal linkages among the agencies and incentive funding to local governments. .

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