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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Time to Reform Bay Area Sales Taxes

November 12, 2020 By Susannah Parsons, Senior Policy Associate
Taxes are more than revenue-raising tools: They reflect our collective sense of fairness and shared values. But most sales taxes are regressive, which means they hit low-income households hardest. A new SPUR report argues that a sales tax credit or similar cash benefit could address these impacts and advance a more just tax code and a more equitable region.

Shining a Light on the Invisible Costs of Driving

October 29, 2020 By Sarah Jo Szambelan, Research Director
For most people in the Bay Area, getting somewhere means driving. It's the default option because it is most often easier and cheaper than any other option. But driving imposes serious costs on others: traffic, climate change, air pollution, and heart and lung disease. A new SPUR report shines a light on the invisible costs of driving and offers five strategies to address them.

SPUR Welcomes Ronak Davé Okoye as Oakland Director

October 28, 2020 By Henrieta Muradzikwa, Digital Content Curator
SPUR is pleased to announce that Ronak Davé Okoye has joined the organization as Oakland director. SPUR Oakland Board Chair Dahlia Chazan says she’s excited to welcome Ronak to SPUR: “She’s an Oaklander who will be serving her community, bringing new ideas from other cities and from her experience helping government agencies really listen to the people they serve.”

Equity and the Public Realm: Designing Spaces for Everyone

October 28, 2020 By Livesey Pack and Amanda Ryan
Who determines how public spaces are used, and who gets to use them? SPUR’s weeklong symposium Ideas + Action 2020: Public Space brought people together from different cities to share their perspectives regarding equitable public spaces. A set of themes emerged: Building equitable public spaces requires a public and professional reckoning with power, safety and accessibility.

One Step Closer to Expanding Healthy Food Incentives in California

October 23, 2020 By Eli Zigas and Diego Ortiz
A new request for applications may not, on the face of it, seem like a big deal. But, when the California Department of Social Services posted its request for applications for the California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Integration Pilot Project in early September, it marked an important milestone in SPUR’s long-term goal of making healthy food incentives a permanent supplement to the CalFresh/SNAP program.

Funding California’s Fight Against Climate Change

October 23, 2020 By Laura Feinstein, Sustainability and Resilience Policy Director
What could California do to limit climate change and clean the air if the state had $30 billion to spend in the next 10 years? Climate change policy leaders gathered to tackle this question at an October 1 convening organized by SPUR and Move LA. On the table is a potential ballot measure that could go before California voters in November 2022.

Downtown San José’s Momentum Slowed but Not Stopped

October 23, 2020 By Matt Mahan, Michelle Huttenhoff and Michael Lane
After decades of efforts to attract investment, downtown San José was experiencing a rare moment in the spotlight before COVID-19. Big project announcements from Google, Adobe and others seemed to put within reach San José’s decades-old aspiration to become a lively urban center. Now, as the pandemic drags on, residents are left to wonder how much of downtown’s previous momentum will carry through the crisis.

Silicon Valley Roundtable: Recovering From the Pandemic Means Addressing Systemic Injustice

October 23, 2020 By Teresa Alvarado, Chief of Local Impact
Leaders in Silicon Valley are looking at the innovations that might emerge in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing is clear: This time, it won’t be an engineering solution. The Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable, launched to help businesses safely reopen, realized that its goal was not to return to “normal” but to repair the systemic disparities that existed before the pandemic.

Why the Bay Area Struggles with Transit Project Delivery, and How to Fix It

September 29, 2020
The Bay Area has underinvested in transit for decades. Today, in the midst of a pandemic, it’s hard to imagine how the region will catch up: Our major transit projects regularly take decades to build and rank among the most expensive in the world. SPUR’s latest report offers three big ideas for delivering transit projects in less time,for less money and with better public value.

Six Ways to Better Deliver Benefits and Feed Hungry Californians

September 23, 2020 By Diego Ortiz, Food and Agriculture Program Manager
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, social service agencies have been under-resourced and ill-prepared to deal with the huge surge of people seeking help to meet their basic needs. SPUR offers six ways the state can improve the benefits process and help Californians get the food assistance and other services they need.

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