• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
Issue 553 September 2016

The Corporate Campus: A Local History

A glimpse at how Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley.
The Bay Area’s economic engine has evolved into a spatial pattern that comes with high environmental and social costs. Can we change course? Read More »

A New Look at the Corporate Campus

How to grow the region’s economic engine more efficiently and sustainably.
The way we work is changing dramatically. Maybe it’s time that our workplaces did, too. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Searching for Silicon Valley

​ A piece in the Mercury News earlier this year suggested that Silicon Valley is giving Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and the Bay Area’s other tourist attractions a run for their money. But what does Silicon Valley look like? Where would you send tourists hoping to “see” it? Read More »

Member Profile: Gavin Belson of HBO's Silicon Valley

Making the world a better place, one juice bar at a time.
No show better captures the current milieu of Silicon Valley better than, well, HBO’s Silicon Valley . The show’s Google doppelganger, Hooli, is led by CEO Gavin Belson. We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes of Gavin’s valuable time to talk about the future of the corporate campus. Read More »
Issue 552 August 2016

What’s Going On: Tensions, and Solutions, in a Changing Oakland

On July 7, more than 2,000 people marched peacefully in Oakland to protest police killings of innocent civilians in other parts of the country. In a city that is changing quickly, and where tensions run high, a peaceful protest is worth noting. We must pay close attention to the reasons people were marching — and work as hard as we can to fix the causes. Read More »
By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director

A Plea to End Racial Bias: A Mom’s Response to Police Violence in Our Cities

When people want to know what can be done to change centuries of institutional racism and socialized prejudice, I want them to know my experience as a White mom to Black kids. As Americans, we are all socialized toward bias. In my experience you can change your part in it, and it is critically important for White people to take responsibility for doing so. Read More »
By Alicia John-Baptiste, Deputy Director

Violence and the Urban Commons

There are times when the very fabric of society seems to be unraveling, and this is certainly one of them. San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas, Nice. Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling. How are those of us who think about cities to understand this moment? Read More »
By Benjamin Grant, Urban Design Policy Director

Building an Inclusive Community in Times of Fear and Distrust

Our nation is suffering from a gaping wound reminiscent of the 1960s. During that era, my parents were active in el movimiento , working alongside Cesar Chavez to advocate for better living conditions, opportunities, safety and acceptance. My parents dreamed of a different future than we are experiencing now. We must return to being an inclusive community that provides a path to opportunity and mobility. Read More »
By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director

Urban Field Notes: From Beige to Beautiful

Creating public art for professional wages, one blank wall at a time.
The recently formed Exhibition District pays working artists professional wages for the professional work of painting murals around San Jose, with the goal of making the city the cultural destination of Silicon Valley. SPUR visited the organization's first murals on a walking tour this May. Read More »
Issue 551
June 2016 to July 2016

June/July 2016 Urbanist

Can State Power Make a Better Region?

Planning and policy lessons from down under.
Sydney, Australia’s planning system is entirely different from the Bay Area’s, primarily because of the strong role of its state government in planning decisions. What can the Bay Area learn from its approach? Read More »

Learning from Australia’s “Millennium Drought”

California has made significant progress in advancing water conservation and efficiency; Australia has done even better.
Australia’s cities and towns survived their terrible drought, demonstrating world-leading innovation and exceptional examples of urban water planning and management driven by crisis. What can California learn from their actions? Read More »

Urban Field Notes: The Ocean Pools of Sydney

No one understands more than Sydney that swimming is one of life’s great pleasures.
The warm ocean is by far the most satisfying place to swim. Living in cold-water San Francisco means I usually have to settle for swimming in a pool, but the ocean pools of Australia, which I visited daily on SPUR’s recent city trip, opened my eyes to the fact that swimming in a pool isn’t necessarily settling. Read More »

Member Profile: Dan McKinley

A designer immerses himself in the life of the city.
Dan McKinley is the art director at McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house founded by Dave Eggers that publishes all manner of fiction, nonfiction and poetry . We caught up with him near the cozy and book-stuffed McSweeney's HQ in the Mission to chat about small cities, literary cities and his interest in making his kids’ hometown a better place. Read More »

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