Economic Development

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

Publications

Article Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In 2013, San Francisco reached a historic peak in employment, and from what we know so far, 2014 will reach even higher. In fact, San Francisco has never seen a more rapid three-year period of expansion in jobs than the period between 2010 and 2013, when the city added more than 70,000 jobs.

Article Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An overwhelming majority of voters in San Francisco and Oakland voted to raise the local minimum wage in November. Meanwhile San Jose and a number of other Bay Area cities have already increased their minimum wage or are planning to establish one. Public opinion has shifted, and higher minimum wages have become a win-win mainstream issue. A regional minimum wage could be next.

Blog Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Persistent poverty and income inequality are challenging issues to address. Job growth exists primarily at the top and bottom end of the labor market, and the share of employment in the middle is declining. The Bay Area Economic Prosperity Strategy is a region-wide plan to improve opportunities for the 1.1 million workers who earn less than $18 per hour. 

Article Thursday, October 2, 2014

Economic opportunity for lower-wage workers requires working simultaneously on three goals: helping lower-wage workers on pathways to the middle, growing the economy with a focus on middle-wage jobs, and improving conditions in lower wage jobs.

SPUR Report Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Bay Area has one of the strongest economies in the world, but the benefits of that prosperity are not universally shared. Over a third of the workforce earns less than $18 an hour. How can we make sure the region’s rising economic tide lifts all boats? The Economic Prosperity Strategy identifies a comprehensive, three-pronged approach to economic mobility for low- and moderate-wage workers.

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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.