• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
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 »
Issue 555
February 2017 to March 2017

The Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan

How to keep the Bay Area’s innovation economy moving
The Caltrain Corridor, home of the Silicon Valley innovation economy, holds much of the Bay Area’s promise and opportunity, but its transportation system is breaking down. We propose a transformative vision for the corridor, along with recommendations for how to fund and implement it. Read More »
Issue 554
December 2016 to January 2017

What East Oakland Can Teach Us About Displacement

More and more people with the means to purchase a home are turning to the few places left in the Bay Area that are still (relatively) affordable. This includes East Oakland, which experienced the Bay Area's most explosive growth in home prices, resulting in our current phenomenon of displacement without development. Read More »

The Rise of the YIMBY Movement

In a region where people largely agree with each other about national issues, our most heated political debates revolve around local land use. The emergence of a Yes In My Back Yard movement has the potential to change long-unchallenged political dynamics. Read More »

Bye-Bye to By-Right Housing

Every reform proposal has powerful opponents, and Governor Jerry Brown’s “by-right” housing proposal was no exception. As a result, the policy, which would have automatically approved certain housing developments that comply with local zoning, failed to pass in the legislature. Read More »

Soda Taxes Reach a Tipping Point

The year 2016 will likely be marked as the tipping point for soda taxes. Voters approved soda taxes everywhere they appeared on the ballot this November. Two local legislatures also passed soda taxes this year. Which cities or states will be next? Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Transbay Takes Shape

SPUR’s staff photographer Sergio Ruiz has been documenting the progress of the Transbay Transit Center since just before the original terminal was demolished in 2010. The Center, which includes five levels of transit, retail and public open space meant to accommodate more than 100,000 passengers every weekday, is set to complete its first phase of construction by the end of this year. Read More »

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