A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Staff Profile: Karen Steen, 11-year Spurrito

This year, SPUR is celebrating staff members — a.k.a. “Spurritos”— who have served the organization for 10 years or more. This month we profile Communications Director Karen Steen, who oversees SPUR’s communications, messaging and publications while also maintaining SPUR’s brand across the region. Karen is responsible for ensuring the high quality of SPUR’s publications.

How Cities Can Make the Most of California’s High-Speed Rail Investment

Over the summer and fall of 2021, SPUR and the California High-Speed Rail Authority produced a series of webinars to help cities make the most of high-speed rail stations and station areas. We’ve gathered some of the key themes and best practices we learned about, along with the concrete steps station cities and the authority can take to get the most from this generational investment.

SPUR’s Vision for a San Francisco That Welcomes Everyone

Incoming San Francisco Director Sujata Srivastava shares her goals and vision for SPUR’s work in San Francisco. She encourages us to let go of false narratives that urban development is a zero-sum game and instead embrace a mindset of abundance, where the city welcomes new growth, builds much-needed housing and closes the racial wealth gap. Through sustained dialogue and civic engagement, we can begin to build a sense of belonging and develop a policy agenda that leads to systemic change.

Lessons Learned From California’s COVID-19 Water Debt Relief Program

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature established the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program to provide financial relief for unpaid water bills. But water affordability struggles won’t end with the pandemic. The state will need to build upon its first experiment with water bill assistance to weather ongoing climate change and income inequality. SPUR investigates the success of the $985 million program and looks at lessons learned.

Candidates Share Their Views at SPUR’s San José Mayoral Forum

The next mayor of San José will take the lead in guiding policy decisions that will shape the region for decades to come. SPUR and six partner organizations held a forum on April 28 to help voters get to know the frontrunner candidates and their positions on some of the city’s most pressing issues. We’ve compiled the candidate’s answers to questions spanning equitable planning, regional transit, parks and open space funding, affordable housing and senior housing.

Welcome to Our New 2022 SPUR Board Members

SPUR has welcomed 19 new members to its board of directors. These new appointees bring extensive knowledge in planning, housing, transportation, economic justice, good government, food and agriculture, sustainability and resilience to the organization’s leadership. We look forward to their advisorship as we continue our work to make the Bay Area a place where everyone can thrive.

How to Make California’s Budget Surplus a Good Deal for the Climate

California is dangerously behind on cutting carbon emissions, but this year’s budget surplus can be a weapon in the fight to address climate change, with Governor Newsom announcing plans to spend $37 billion over the next six years on climate resilience. Here are SPUR’s suggestions for how to focus those resources on eliminating fossil fuels in buildings, securing safe and abundant water, ending car dependence, improving transit, building affordable housing where we need it and more.

SPUR-Sponsored State Housing Bills Move Forward in Sacramento

With the California State Legislature back from its spring recess, key SPUR-sponsored housing legislation is making its way through the Assembly Local Government and Housing and Community Development committees. We’re supporting bills to prohibit minimum parking requirements for new buildings near transit, allow faster permitting of shelters for unhoused people, make development fees more transparent and more.

How We Got a Parkway for the People

This spring, SPUR and San Francisco celebrate the culmination of an extraordinary public project that started 31 years ago: the Presidio Parkway. What began as a safety project to replace a dangerous elevated highway became a community-led process to heal a landscape torn apart by freeway building. SPUR played a critical role in bringing people together to complete this once-in-a-generation project.

Different Together: The 2022 State of SPUR Address

In this year's State of SPUR address, given at our annual Board of Directors retreat, SPUR President and CEO Alicia John-Baptiste reflected on the past few years and looked ahead to how we can build on what we've learned, so that the region's future is one in which all people thrive.