Community Planning

Our goal: Build great neighborhoods.

Publications

Article Monday, November 1, 1999 Jasper Rubin outlines the transformation of the San Francisco Port as a working industrial port to a commercially zoned waterfront. The collapse was due in part to mechanical and engineering progress that San Francisco didn't have the space or resources...
Article Sunday, August 1, 1999 Veteran planners Dean Macris and George Williams explain the contents of the 1985 Downtown Plan, especially its preservation and housing concerns. The authors lay out the historical context of resistence to growth among the citizens of San Francisco, and how it affected the Plan.
Article Sunday, August 1, 1999 This article discusses how one important planning tool -- the Specific Area Plan -- can formally bring all sides to the table to plan for how a neighborhood should evolve over time.
Article Sunday, August 1, 1999 The Urban Design Plan needs to accommodate more than what and where buildings are planted in San Francisco. We cannot separate our society from our city streets, our economy and the buildings we live and work in every day.
Article Thursday, July 1, 1999 The vilification of the high-rise framed much of the debate on the growth and development of downtown San Francisco, pitting the neighborhood groups against city hall in a series of propositions that would set limits on building heights.

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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.