The concept of the “15-minute neighborhood,” where residents can access essential, everyday services just a short walk or bike ride from home, has gained currency in recent years. San José’s plan to grow by building dense, mixed-use “urban villages” could guide the kind of development that would create 15-minute neighborhoods. SPUR suggests that San José could use the 15-minute framework to implement its urban village plan. We recommend six strategies to enable the creation of these more complete, connected, and equitable communities.
Parks and public spaces are signifiers of civic vitality, and their maintenance, improvement, expansion, and programming often reflect the economic times. These activities can be made sustainable by re-examining place governance — how people and organizations across sectors collaborate to shape a place’s economic, physical, and social dynamics. As San José considers how to deliver on the promise of its public green spaces, it can look to other cities that have created or reformed place governance models.
This year’s Ideas + Action symposium explored the topic of housing policy beyond “zero sum” thinking , where some prosper at the expense of others. Keynote speaker Heather McGhee led an investigation into common conceptions of zero sum thinking, such as “policies that support renters harm homeowners” and “affordable housing leads to declining property values.” Our daylong conversation explored the role that racism plays in these debates and the shifts needed to create something different.
Oakland has launched what it describes as a “once-in-a generation” opportunity to create a visionary blueprint for the city’s future. SPUR sprang to action when the city released its inaugural draft Environmental Justice Element and its draft Safety Element update as part of the city’s 2045 General Plan Update. Our efforts paid off: the city council adopted several of our recommendations, all of which will help economically vulnerable Oaklanders, in particular.
A new SPUR research paper digs into the housing market’s failure to meet the needs of middle-income households. Using a national survey and three case studies of middle-income housing production programs, the paper reveals that the need for middle-income housing is growing, and it's felt nationwide — not just in expensive coastal cities. California can look to innovative programs across the country as models for how to address the state’s housing challenges