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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Find more of SPUR's regional planning research

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Updates and Events

Reforming Regional Government

SPUR Report February 28, 2012
Ever since regional government was first proposed for the Bay Area after World War II, leaders have debated the best model for governing a growing region. The basic structure for regional transportation planning and funding has not changed since the Metropolitan Transportation Commission was formed in 1970. Currently, counties seats on the MTC are not evenly distributed. SPUR recommends reforms to make representation more equitable.

The Urban Future of Work

SPUR Report January 9, 2012
As the Bay Area’s economy changes, many firms are finding they need the vibrancy and density of an urban-style environment in order to collaborate, innovate and stay competitive. There is a strong link between density and job growth. In fact, we believe that locating jobs closer to transit — and closer to one another — will be key to the Bay Area’s long-term economic growth.

Should We Change the Structure of the Bay Area’s Regional Government?

News December 15, 2011
This is a time of significant flux in the Bay Area’s regional planning landscape. There is a serious proposal in the California State Legislature to change the way the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is governed and increasing talk about whether it and other regional agencies can play a stronger role in economic development.

How to Secure Transportation Funding? Commit to Growth

News November 2, 2011
The Bay Area is in the midst of a major planning initiative to identify where to grow and how to allocate scarce transportation dollars over the next 30 years. City agencies have been consulted in the development of the Sustainable Communities Strategy, but recently they got a chance to respond publicly to the plan and raise concerns about its three proposed growth scenarios. SPUR agrees with much of the city’s response, but we differ on a few key points. Namely, we believe San Francisco should absorb a big share of future growth.

Why the MTC's Toll Lane Plan Won't Meet the Goals of Road Pricing

News September 27, 2011
The Bay Area has a lot to gain from pricing its freeways. Two of the major benefits are money for transit and less highway congestion. High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes are a miniature form of road pricing, offering solo drivers the option to buy their way into High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes and bypass the congested, more heavily-subsidized highway lanes. In 2008, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) proposed a plan to expand the region’s network of HOT lanes to 800 miles by 2035. This week , the agency is expected to approve a new plan for submission to the California Transportation Commission (CTC), but it would be scaled back significantly to 570 miles and would fall short of achieving the benefits of road pricing on several levels: Much of the planned network will expand highway lanes rather than converting existing ones to use them more efficiently. SPUR’s analysis shows that this will increase...

How Will 1.7 Million More People Cross the SF Bay?

News August 16, 2011
The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to grow by 1.7 million people in the next 25 years. SPUR has a few ideas. Our short animated film illustrates a few simple things we can do today, as well as one big idea for the future. SPUR's first forray into video animation enjoyed coverage from Fast Company and Streetsblog .

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