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

Rethinking Regional Planning: A Window of Opportunity in 2016

News August 26, 2016
The Bay Area is changing. We are living in an age of climate change, housing shortages, income inequality, fiscal stress and — soon — driverless cars, trucks and buses. Our local governments will not be able to take on the significant challenges of these times on their own. We need effective — even visionary — regional government to put its resources toward solving them.

Can State Power Make a Better Region?

Urbanist Article July 7, 2016
Sydney, Australia’s planning system is entirely different from the Bay Area’s, primarily because of the strong role of its state government in planning decisions. What can the Bay Area learn from its approach?

What Do Three Mega Projects Tell Us About Silicon Valley’s Future?

News June 27, 2016
Santa Clara's City Place development, San Jose’s Diridon Station Area Plan and Mountain View’s North Bayshore Precise Plan seek to reshape growth in Silicon Valley. What do they tell us about the future of Silicon Valley and what do they mean for the region? Can we expect something different than auto-oriented suburbs? Are we “thinking different” — or repeating the mistakes of the past?

SPUR Comments on San Jose-San Francisco High Speed Rail EIR Notice of Preparation

Policy Letter June 10, 2016
SPUR suggests some considerations that we think should be addressed in the EIR/EIS for the San Francisco-San Jose segment of California High-Speed Rail. The letter emphasizes Diridon Station, the Diridon Station Area and Central San Jose given that San Jose is High-Speed Rail's gateway to the Bay Area.

SPUR Supports Governor Brown's "By-Right" Legislation

Policy Letter June 1, 2016
SPUR is pleased to offer support to Governor Brown’s proposed trailer legislation, “Streamlining Affordable Housing Approvals,” which would make mixed-income infill housing development as-of-right.

Regional Agencies Take a Step Closer to Merging

News April 28, 2016
Last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments took a major step toward more comprehensive regional planning. A joint committee of the two agencies endorsed a full organizational merger . After reviewing seven proposed merger options, the committee voted to support one that would make all ABAG and MTC staff part of the same organizational and management structure.

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on SPUR projects and events.

Sign up for our email newsletters