• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
Issue 549
February 2016 to March 2016

Walking in Oakland

Gertrude Stein got it wrong. There is definitely a there here.
Uptown, downtown, Old Town, Chinatown, lake, redwood forest: the possibilities for discovery in the the region's third-largest city are endless. The Urbanist invited Oaklanders to share their favorite walks. Read More »

Designing the Bay Area's Second Transbay Rail Crossing

How to ensure reliable transit and a connected region
Since the BART Transbay Tube opened in 1974, the Bay Area has grown from 4.3 million to 7.6 million people, yet we have added no new capacity for crossing the Bay. Our overburdened system threatens the region’s quality of life and its ability to grow. It's time to start planning a second transbay rail crossing. We offer seven recommendations for how to get started now. Read More »

Investing in the City

Developer Mike Kim sees an even brighter future for the heart of Silicon Valley.
Over the past 30 years, SIMEON, a private real estate development and investment firm in San Francisco, has developed over 5 million square feet of real estate in the Bay Area and currently has a $750 million development pipeline, including three high-rise projects located in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Leading these efforts in Mike Kim, the firm’s chief investment officer. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: The Biomes of Broadway

A few of the many possible activities that Broadway provides to Oaklanders.
The four-mile length of Broadway in Oakland displays a great number of urban “biomes” — the biological term for areas of similar characteristics that give rise to common communities of flora and fauna. On what other single street could one head to work downtown, purchase a car, bike ride into the hills, listen to world famous jazz musicians and visit a newborn in the hospital? Read More »
Issue 548
December 2015 to January 2016

The Economic Boom Continues

The Bay Area has emerged as one of the most significant economic engines on earth, yet some of the region's policy failures are limiting its ability to add jobs.
The Bay Area has emerged as one of the most significant economic engines on earth. Yet some of our policy failures are limiting the region’s ability to add jobs — and causing terrible problems for its residents. We know that booms and busts are an inevitable part of capitalism, but what do we know about the longer-term fate of the Bay Area innovative economy? Read More »

A Good Year for Housing Reform

Voters took constructive steps to add supply of both market rate and affordable housing, while at the same time rejecting a measure that would have reduced supply.
From SPUR’s perspective, the November 2015 election was pretty close to perfect in terms of housing policy. The voters took constructive steps to add supply of both market rate and affordable housing, while at the same time rejecting a measure that would have reduced supply. Read More »

Is Prefab Pretty Fab?

With housing demand higher than ever and construction costs rising, several multifamily developers placed their bets on prefabricated affordable housing.
With housing demand higher than ever and construction costs rising, several multifamily developers placed their bets on prefabricated affordable housing in 2015. Motivated in large part by technology's potential for delivering shorter construction times (and sometimes, lower costs), developers are beginning to use modular construction on numerous projects throughout the Bay Area. Read More »
Issue 547 November 2015

Transforming St. James Park

Creating a strategy to bring St. James Park to life through innovative governance and stewardship.
San Jose was determined not to let St. James Park, the challenged two-block green space in the north of downtown, turned into a neglected urban space. For the St. James Park project, SPUR worked with MJM Management Group, a public-space management firm, to assess the issues and opportunities and assemble case studies on urban parks management from around the country. Read More »

Cracking the Code on Urban Design

If you plan cities for people and places, you get people and places. Excerpted from SPUR's report "Cracking the Code"
SPUR examines the zoning code in San Jose and other West Coast cities with the goal of identifying opportunities for San Jose to up its urban design game. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Architecture on the Defensive

Exploring the ways cities limit the ways people can use their public spaces.
At a time when many of our cities are becoming enamored with creating spaces that promote health, happiness and well being, the presence of defensive architecture — or, those ubiquitous elements in public spaces that deter people from sitting or sleeping — is uncomfortably contradictory. Read More »

Member Profile: Margie O'Driscoll

The former head of San Francisco's American Institute of Architects is passionate about making the city's built environment better.
The former head of San Francisco's American Institute of Architects is passionate about making the city's built environment better. Read More »

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