What Is SPUR?

SPUR — the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association — is a nonprofit public policy organization. We bring people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems cities face. Based in San Francisco, San José, and Oakland, we are recognized as a leading civic planning organization and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues.

Join Us

SPUR is a member-supported organization. Join a community of thousands of individuals who care about the future of the Bay Area.

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The Bay Area is a region in which all people thrive.


Through research, education, and advocacy, SPUR works to create an equitable, sustainable, and prosperous region.

Policy Areas

Planning  •  Housing  •  Transportation  •  Sustainability and Resilience  •  Economic Justice  •  Good Government  •  Food and Agriculture

Our Theory of Change

What we do

We practice urban policy, developing and advocating for ideas and reforms to bring about systems change. The decisions that shape housing, transportation, land use, economics, food access, sustainability, and resilience have significant impacts on people’s lives. We also focus on governance because it’s how communities organize themselves to achieve collective goals and because we believe in the power of government as a force for good.

Where we work

We work across the nine counties of the Bay Area because the structural systems that shape people’s lives — the housing market, the transportation network, the economy — are regional. We do deep work in San Francisco, San José, and Oakland because policies set in the region’s three biggest cities have widespread impact on most Bay Area residents and because local context is critical for effective policy.



What we believe

We believe that community and individual well-being are healthiest when a society achieves equity, sustainability, and prosperity. Equity because systemic racism continues to create unjust and unacceptable outcomes for many members of our community. Sustainability because human well-being depends on a healthy and thriving natural environment. And prosperity because meeting individual and collective needs requires resources.

How we work

We conduct our work through research, education, and advocacy because these tools have the power to change minds and shape outcomes. We believe that profound systems change requires addressing beliefs, relationships, and policies, and we work at all three of these levels. We ground our work in a spirit of inquiry and a big-tent perspective that engages partners and communities across the region.

SPUR Timeline: A Century of Civic Involvement

Policy Areas

SPUR Planning Policy Area


Our goal: Add new jobs and housing where they will support equity and sustainability, and make neighborhoods safe and welcoming to everyone.
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Model Places Illustration


Our goal: Make housing affordable for everyone.
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SPUR Transportation Policy Area Header


Our goal: Make walking, biking, taking transit and carpooling the default options for getting around
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San Francisco City Hall lit up red, white and blue during election season

Good Government

Our goal: Support a high-functioning public sector that serves the collective good.
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Orange skyline of San Francisco during extreme fires of 2020

Sustainability and Resilience

Our goal: Eliminate carbon emissions and create resilient, environmentally just communities.
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Equality protesters in downtown San Francisco

Economic Justice

Our goal: Enable all people to participate in the region’s thriving economy and attain economic security
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People eating food in a community garden

Food and Agriculture

Our goal: Create healthy, just and sustainable food systems, and put an end to food insecurity.
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