• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
August 2017

The Permanent Housing Crisis

The housing shortage isn’t a new problem for the Bay Area, but it has changed in surprising ways over the decades. Here are our thoughts on how to tackle it.
Over the past 20 years, SPUR has had victories and losses. We’ve run ballot measures, developed reforms to the approval process, pushed for neighborhood plans. We need to do more. Read More »

Oakland Takes Steps to Address Its Housing Challenges

Nearly 3,000 homes are under construction in Oakland. There is more to be done but SPUR is impressed with the city’s progress.
The 2016 Oakland at Home report recommended strategies for addressing the city’s housing shortage. Here’s an update. Read More »

How to Make San Francisco Friendly to Families

The most effective way to counter the pull of the suburbs may be to build on the strong urban amenities San Francisco already possesses.
San Francisco has the lowest percentage of households with children among the 12 largest American cities. Why are families leaving and what can the city do to keep them? Read More »

Member Profile: Vu-Bang Nguyen

Vu-Bang Nguyen is working to insure that Silicon Valley's growth benefits everyone.
Vu-Bang Nguyen works with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to benefit people most impacted by income inequality, transit accessibility and housing affordability. Read More »
Issue 558
June 2017 to July 2017

A License to Build

How Does Seattle Grow? By Connecting Conservation and Infill
In May, SPUR visited Seattle to learn how it is making such great progress on housing, infrastructure and transportation. Here’s what we learned... Read More »

Small Buildings: Big Impact

Seattle proves you can grow without going tall.
Seattle is building way more housing per square mile than San Francisco and is spending less money doing so. Read More »

Seattle's Big Vision for Transit

The Puget Sound region asked voters for a lot — and got it
A bold new transit package will feature 62 new miles of light rail, an extension of commuter rail, and an array of other bus and transit projects. Read More »

Member Profile: Tyra Fennell

Tyra Fennell uses art, music and performance to bring communities together.
Tyra Fennell is founding director of Imprint.City, an organization that seeks to activate industrial, underutilized spaces with both performing and visual arts to encourage community and economic development. We spoke this spring with Tyra about her hopes and fears for the city she calls home. Read More »
Issue 557
May 2017 to June 2017

How Do We Transform Diridon Station?

17 rules for a great train station
The remaking of Diridon Station is San Jose’s largest and most significant city-building project to date, but success is not assured. We have a lot to learn from other cities that have undertaken ambitious projects to transform transportation services and remake the areas around train stations. Based on our lessons from Rotterdam, Toronto and Denver, we recommend 17 ideas for creating a great train station. Read More »

Lessons for Diridon: Rebuilding Rotterdam Centraal Station

Over the next decade, San Jose’s Diridon Station will be remade into the first high-speed rail station in the country and the busiest transportation hub west of the Mississippi. What models can guide the planning for this major opportunity? Rotterdam Centraal, in the Netherlands, has a number of parallels to Diridon and offers an excellent model of what a modern transportation hub can be. Read More »
By Laura Tolkoff and Deike Peters*

Lessons for Diridon: Revitalizing Toronto’s Union Station

Over the next few months, public agencies will be working together to set the remaking of Diridon Station in motion. During this critical period, it’s important to be thinking boldly about what’s possible. Toronto’s primary transit hub, the historic Union Station, is nearing completion of a major revitalization project scheduled for completion in 2018. Its context and complexity make it a good parallel to Diridon. Read More »
By Alex Shoor, San Jose Special Projects Assistant, and Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director

Lessons for Diridon: Denver’s Success Story That Almost Didn’t Happen

Since Denver Union Station reopened in 2014, it has become one of the nation’s best examples of a modern intermodal train station embedded in a transit-friendly urban neighborhood. The project has a number of important lessons for the team that’s planning the transformation of San Jose’s Diridon Station into a major transportation hub with the country’s first high-speed rail station. Read More »
By Laura Tolkoff, Alex Shoor and Kenichiro Suzuki

Harnessing High-Speed Rail

What California and its cities can do to get the greatest benefit from a once-in-a-generation investment.
In addition to carrying passengers from the Bay Area to Los Angeles in less than three hours, high-speed rail has the potential to help create compact station districts along the route and bring economic growth to the San Joaquin Valley. We take a look at some of the potential benefits and pitfalls for the cities of the Central Valley. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Naples, Play in the City

In Italy, a former SPUR intern observes a “delight in living life.”
In Italy, a former SPUR intern observes the ways a city's form can influence the "collective joy" of it's citizens, and how the city of Naples encourages it's residents to play and engage with urban space. Read More »

Member Profile: Christopher Calott

A designer and developer is creating a program to teach others to do those things, too.
Christopher Calott is a architect primarily focused on design and development consulting with investors on mixed-use housing, affordable housing, and urban design for “infill” redevelopment projects throughout the Bay Area. On top of that, he’s been busy setting up an innovative one-year master’s program, that he will chair, in real estate development and design. Read some of his thoughts on design, development, and urbanism. Read More »

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