• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
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 »
Issue 556
April 2017 to May 2017

Zoning's Next Century

Last year zoning turned 100. What will the next century bring?
Last year, zoning turned 100. What will the next century bring? We invited planners, architects, journalists, economists and others to weigh in: What should change? What should remain? Will we, as New Urbanist Andres Duany suggests, look forward to the day zoning no longer exists at all? Read More »

Happy Fifth Anniversary, SPUR San Jose!

SPUR's San Jose office is celebrating five years of advocacy and community engagement.
Five years ago, SPUR’s vision for addressing the challenges facing the Bay Area took a major step forward with the opening of SPUR in San Jose. We would like to thank our board of directors, funders, business and individual members, and community partners, and we look forward to being a part of the transformational changes San Jose will experience over the next five years. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Berlin, Freedom 2.0

Our correspondent witnesses a wonderfully urbane model of freedom in Berlin.
Our correspondent witnesses a wonderfully urbane model of freedom in Berlin. Here, some observations about Berlin’s transportation, transit and pedestrian system — the arterials and capillaries of urban design and planning - as it relates to the city’s personality and livability. Read More »

Member Profile: Brad Williford

A childhood fascination with trains led to a lifelong interest in how cities work.
Brad works out of Google’s San Francisco office on the Material Design team, which publishes a set of guidelines and tools that aim to make apps and other digital experiences more beautiful. Last fall, in his spare time, he volunteered to build a website for SPUR’s Voter Guide — the result provided essential information for thousands of voters confronting San Francisco’s ballot measures last fall. Read More »

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