Community Planning

Our goal: Build great neighborhoods.

Publications

Blog Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Francisco’s Market Street has a long and fascinating history: from its ambitious beginnings as an over-scaled boulevard, laid out by Jasper O’Farrell in 1847, to its heyday as the city’s vibrant theater district in the early twentieth century. Market Street rose to prominence after the 1906 Earthquake, survived a series of urban planning experiments in the mid-twentieth century, and absorbed the important yet disruptive insertion of BART beneath its surface in 1972.

Article Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cities across the country are using arts districts as a redevelopment tool. Here’s why the best ones work.

Blog Monday, July 18, 2011

The stretch of 4th Street between Market Street and the Caltrain station at 4th and King Street may not be one of San Francisco’s best-known neighborhoods (at least not yet), but it’s an important area for urbanists to be thinking about. Why? Because roughly $1.5 billion will be invested in transit infrastructure here, in the form of the Central Subway. The SF Planning Department has launched a Central Corridor Study to plan the future of the area.

Blog Sunday, July 17, 2011

This year has been a wild one for redevelopment agencies in in California. First California voters passed Proposition 22, which prevented the state from raiding redevelopment agency funds. Then Governor Jerry Brown vowed to abolish redevelopment agencies and got fairly close to doing so. Now redevelopment agencies have once again headed to the chopping block, only this time it’s for real.

Blog Thursday, July 7, 2011

There's been a lot of hullabaloo about San Francisco's Mid-Market area lately, mostly focused on the new payroll tax exemption for businesses that locate in the neighborhood and the planned CityPlace Project, a major retail development, both approved by the city last September. But a gaggle of planners and economic development experts are already working hard to transform this area into an arts district anchored by a redesigned Market Street.

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Our Priorities for Community Planning

USING LAND USE PLANNING TO CURB SPRAWL

Building a more sustainable city and region requires a strong connection between transportation infrastructure and land use planning. If we concentrate more housing and jobs near transit infrastructure, we can enable more people to get to commute without using a personal car.

CREATING GREAT PUBLIC SPACES

Great neighborhoods need great public spaces. These can take the form of parks, privately owned public open spaces (POPOS), or sidewalks and street designs that invite neighbors to take a leisurely stroll.

SAVING THE WATERFRONT

Can San Francisco create a world-class waterfront, or must we continue to watch it slowly rot into the Bay? The waterfront is one of the city's greatest physical assets. To save it, we must use new thinking, new tools and new cooperation among federal, state and local agencies.

PRESERVING HISTORY WHILE ALLOWING FOR GROWTH AND CHANGE

Part of what makes San Francisco so beautiful is its rich architectural fabric. This fabric includes our greatest historical buildings—as well as the historic urban forms of our city, including a rapidly disappearing network of alleyways and finger piers. SPUR believes that the best of our past must be preserved while allowing for the growth and change necessary to fight urban sprawl and global climate change.

ENCOURAGING GOOD DESIGN IN NEW BUILDINGS

Every new building in the city should exemplify the best of contemporary architecture. San Francisco should set a model for encouraging new buildings that incorporate sustainable design features, a sound relationship with the public realm and a unique approach to expressing the cultural and social values of our time. What we build today should be worth preserving by future generations.

ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENT, ECONOMY, AND EQUITY

Sustainable cities need to address global climate change, create decent and well-paying jobs and enable low-income communities to share in the success as neighborhoods grow and change. In shaping neighborhood plans, SPUR engages in careful thinking about how to support each of the three "E"s of sustainability.


Community Planning Projects

GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING

An integral part of SPUR's mission is to promote good planning in San Francisco and the region. This means improving the connection between transportation and land use planning, creating streets and public spaces that are—in the words of Danish urbanist Jan Gehl, "sweet for people"—and increasing housing affordability. SPUR continues to fight for great urban plans that help make our city a better place.

PRIVATELY OWNED PUBLIC SPACES (POPOS)

POPOS are publicly accessible spaces owned and maintained by the owner of a private building. They  come in many forms: plazas, roof gardens, greenhouses, atriums and "snippets". Some POPOS are easily accessible, while others are tucked away and hard to find. SPUR works to support existing privately-owned public open spaces while working on policy changes to make the next generation of POPOS even better.

THE WATERFRONT

The waterfront must be restored to its rightful place as one of the city's move important assets for its residents, workers and visitors. In order to revitalize San Francisco's waterfront, SPUR promotes a variety of strategies, including joint city-state planning, re-investment of Port generated taxes into Port uses and the development of high-quality waterfront parks.

PLANNING AND DBI REFORM

San Francisco's planning and building review processes continue to need additional reform. AIA San Francisco and SPUR have published two reports on "Planning the City's Future," which make recommendations for improving these important City departments. We continue to work in coordination with the AIA to help implement these reforms.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

SPUR works to ensure the preservation of our most important historic architectural resources while balancing the need to allow growth and change to fight climate change and sprawl.

PROJECT REVIEW COMMITTEE

This committee reviews proposals for individual buildings, and evaluates them based on their potential to enhance the vitality of city life and adopt principles of good urban design supported by SPUR. The committee's goal is to create a greater constituency for good urbanism through practical example.

PIERO N. PATRI FELLOWSHIP IN URBAN DESIGN

In honor of Piero N. Patri's commitment to good planning and urban design, in 2006 the Piero N. Patri Fellowship was established by Piero's brother Remo and his wife, Johanna Patri, and his brother Tito and his wife, Bobby Reich Patri. Each year a project is selected that will have a positive impact on the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area and will focus on encouraging positive social change in the city, the region, and the urban design and planning community.

2013 Patri Fellowship Project: Download Connections at Bayview Hill: A Pocket Guide
2012 Patri Fellowship Project: Visit the Southeast Waterfront website >>
2011 Patri Fellowship Project: Download Unaccepted Streets Part 1 >> + Part 2 >>
2010 Patri Fellowship Project: Download 3rd and Cargo >>
2009 Patri Fellowship Project: Download EmBIKEadero >>
2008 Patri Fellowship Project: Download Imagining Islais Creek >>
2007 Patri Fellowship Project: Download Envisioning Warmwater Cove >>


Community Planning Updates

To get regular updates on community planning activities contact SPUR Community Planning Policy Director Kristy Wang at kwang@spur.org.