Economic Development

Our goal: Lay the foundations of economic prosperity — for everyone.

Publications

Article Tuesday, December 18, 2012 After years of underbuilding, new housing and commercial construction is booming in San Francisco. Years of work on neighborhood plans and rezoning are paying off as new construction targets transit-served areas and neighborhoods that support greater residential density.
Article Tuesday, October 9, 2012

From carsharing to clothes-swapping to couchsurfing, collaborative consumption is not only reinventing what we consume but how we consume it.But as it moves out of infancy and toward greater adoption and acceptance, it’s time to look at the ways policy might help facilitate its growth — and how government might help, or hinder, its progress.

Blog Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For the last decade, businesses in San Francisco have been adamant that the city’s payroll tax is holding back job growth. First, companies must pay the tax when they reach $250,000 in payroll, which discourages new hiring. Second, they must pay it when employees exercise their stock options — a strong incentive for any company considering an IPO to leave the city.

Blog Thursday, March 15, 2012

On February 28, Salesforce announced its was suspending plans to build a 2-million-square-foot campus on the 14 acres it had acquired in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. Citing that it has grown faster than expected, the company will instead lease existing space two miles north, near Market Street in San Francisco’s Central Business District.

Blog Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On December 20, the California Supreme Court upheld the legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies. Each city now needs to figure out how to do what has been traditionally been done with redevelopment funds. What does this surprising turn of events mean for the urbanist agenda in California?

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Our priorities for Economic Development

PROMOTING JOB GROWTH IN TRANSIT-ORIENTED EMPLOYMENT CENTERS

Our local response to climate change requires us to reduce our driving and land use patterns. SPUR promotes effective planning to enable the Bay Area's transit-rich employment centers such as downtown San Francisco and Oakland to capture a growing share of regional employment. This is the best way to slow the loss of jobs to suburban areas.

SUPPORTING LONG-TERM ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS

SPUR's role is to focus on ensuring that San Francisco, the Bay Area and the Northern California megaregion are investing in ways that support long-term economic growth and competitiveness. This means understanding the industries that drive the region's economy and making public and private investment in inputs such as education, finance, innovation, transit and quality of life. It also means developing a local political environment that is supportive of economic growth.

ALIGNING TAX POLICY WITH JOB GROWTH GOALS

SPUR recognizes the role of taxes in sending signals to the private marketplace about where and where not to invest resources. To the extent that cities and communities tax job creation, they will likely see less of it. SPUR's role is to understand where and how communities finance important public investments and to look for ways to shift tax burdens in ways that support economic, social equity and environmental goals.

PROMOTING INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH

SPUR supports economic growth that provides for the greatest range of opportunities for different skill levels. SPUR promotes a high road economic growth where the benefits of prosperity are broadly shared.

MAINTAINING LAND FOR A RANGE OF INDUSTRIES

San Francisco is land-constrained. But it is nonetheless important to provide building spaces and neighborhoods that are supportive of a range of firms—from biotech lab space to industrial districts to tourism and retail centers to downtown office towers to mixed-use neighborhoods that enable the growth of local firms.

Economic Development projects

BRINGING WORK BACK TO THE CITY

SPUR is leading an effort to look at the future of downtown San Francisco, the most transit-served employment center in the Bay Area. We are exploring the ongoing tension between maintaining a central office district versus creating a more mixed-use downtown with increasing numbers of residents. The project proposes policy recommendations for how and why San Francisco should capture a growing share of regional employment as an appropriate response to climate change.

CLEANTECH AND GREEN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

SPUR is helping San Francisco become a leader in the emerging green economy. We are spearheading a strategy that identifies our competitive advantage in clean technology and seeks to overcome the barriers to transforming local technologies into viable companies. We participated in the Mayor's City's Clean Tech Advisory Council and continue to work with local policymakers. Our overall goal is to help translate local demand for green products and clean technologies into new jobs and firms located in San Francisco.

INDUSTRIAL BUSINESSES AND ZONING

San Francisco maintains many viable light industrial businesses that support the competitiveness of our export industries in the knowledge and experience sectors. While ensuring that many of these businesses stay and thrive is a key economic goal, we must also look at ways to integrate newer industrial businesses in cleantech and biotech into existing industrial neighborhoods. SPUR is active in the proposed changes to zoning and land use, and in economic development strategies that support the growth of new industrial businesses.

SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Small businesses in all industries are increasingly important in San Francisco's economy. Many of them face challenges in navigating across a complex local government permitting and administrative system. SPUR worked with the City to review its permit processes and propose solutions to make sure that small businesses understand how to get through those processes. We continue to monitor the challenges faced by small businesses—from export-oriented high-tech startups to neighborhood-serving restaurants.

THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MEGAREGION

SPUR has proposed that Northern California should function as a single megaregion that connects the metropolitan regions of Sacramento, Reno, Stockton, Fresno and Monterey with the Bay Area. This megaregion must increasingly collaborate on everything from new transit and infrastructure to food production, open space preservation and affordable housing. SPUR's work is part of a national effort called America 2050.


Economic Development Updates

To get regular updates on economic development activities contact SPUR Regional Planning Director Egon Terplan at eterplan@spur.org.