By Susannah Parsons, Senior Policy Associate
Should some smaller Bay Area cities merge as a way to weather the economic fallout wrought by COVID-19? The pandemic will have a significant impact on local governments — but it might also present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild a governance system that better serves the Bay Area.
By Jim Chappell and Kate White*
San Francisco lost an extraordinary yet humble citizen activist with the passing of Ron Miguel on June 28. A former president of the San Francisco Planning Commission and former president of the Planning Association for the Richmond District, Ron was a long-time active member of SPUR and the founding chairman of the Housing Action Coalition.
By Nick Josefowitz, Chief of Policy
California has finally changed how the transportation impacts of new development and infrastructure are measured, switching from a decades-old metric that prioritized cars to one that will favor less-polluting forms of transportation. This straightforward yet monumental change will make it easier to build healthy, dense, walkable neighborhoods and will discourage sprawl development that degrades air quality and hastens climate change.
By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
SPUR has released Keeping the Doors Open, a set of 10 recommendations for cities to implement as they work to assist ground floor businesses in reopening while shelter-in-place orders remain in effect. We recommend three principles to keep in mind: move quickly and remain flexible, focus on neighborhoods, and center equity in the allocation of resources and staff time.
By Ben Metcalf and David Garcia, the Terner Center & Sarah Karlinsky, SPUR
During the last recession, homebuilding ground to a halt. We can’t let the same thing happen this time. What can be done to keep the pipeline of new housing open through this crisis and recovery? SPUR and the Terner Center offer four principles to help guide new housing construction and facilitate economic recovery.
By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Advisor
As California and the Bay Area face the urgency of economic recovery, we must take immediate steps to address the housing affordability crisis. What if we were able to build housing the way we build other critical infrastructure: when we need it, not just when we’re in an economic boom?
By Robert Ogilvie, Autumn Bernstein and Megan Hophan*
While the pandemic presents real challenges to public engagement, it is also pushing organizations to test new approaches and improve processes that are overdue for rethinking. Here are four things to keep in mind when conducting public outreach online.
By Alicia John-Baptiste, President and CEO
Many white people are outraged and in pain over the murder of George Floyd. We want to be allies. But to do so, we have to take responsibility for our part in perpetuating the systems that have led to these outcomes. We have to undo our own racism, and we have to undo racism in our spheres of influence — including urban planning and policy.
By Michelle Huttenhoff, Placemaking and Public Life Policy Director
San José is one of five new cities to join Reimagining the Civic Commons, a national initiative advancing ambitious social, economic and environmental goals through revitalized and connected public spaces. SPUR is thrilled to be part of this project. We believe public spaces are critical infrastructure and will be essential for building a more resilient shared future as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Laura Tolkoff, Regional Planning Policy Director
In the wake of COVID-19’s disastrous impact, Bay Area transit agencies and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission need to make a commitment to public health in order for transit to recover. This commitment will be an evolving effort, and it must be coordinated across the region. SPUR recommends five things that can improve safety standards and help people feel comfortable riding transit.