Economic Development

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

Publications

Article Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Bay Area has emerged as one of the most significant economic engines on earth. Yet some of our policy failures are limiting the region’s ability to add jobs — and causing terrible problems for its residents. We know that booms and busts are an inevitable part of capitalism, but what do we know about the longer-term fate of the Bay Area innovative economy?

Policy Letter Friday, December 18, 2015

SPUR supports the following two items that have been nominated as part of the San Jose City Council's priority-setting process: the Downtown Active Storefronts Initiative and the San Jose Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone ordinance.

Blog Friday, December 18, 2015

Over the last decade and a half, San Jose’s budget has been on an economic rollercoaster. Two recessions, budget deficits, lay-offs and service cuts have all plagued the largest city in the Bay Area. SPUR has been exploring some of the factors that have affected San Jose’s fiscal position, as well as analyzing it's performance compared to other cities in Santa Clara County and California. 

Article Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Downtown Oakland is poised to take on a more important role in the region. But the future is not guaranteed. SPUR proposes five big ideas for how downtown Oakland can grow while providing benefits to all.

Article Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two of the best examples of urbanism in San Jose are Santana Row and Westfield Valley Fair, wildly successful retail, commercial and residential destinations that pull in millions of visitors from all over the region. As these projects prepare to expand, opportunities for enhancing transit and walkability in San Jose can, too.

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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.