News

A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Alameda County Joins a Growing Movement to Buy Better Food

Alameda County correctional facilities spend more than $20 million annually on food, but until recently there was no way to evaluate whether these purchases lived up to county’s values. This changed last month, when the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the Good Food Purchasing policy to see how well their food purchasing supports a healthy, local, sustainable and fair food supply chain.

How Do Fines and Fees Hurt Californians — and What Can the State Do About It?

Fines and fees are an often-overlooked aspect of California’s criminal legal system. A recent SPUR forum took a close look at the role these charges play in a starkly inequitable, illogical and unjust system. Our panelists discussed the harms caused by fines and fees, why they cost too much, who they impact most and how to end biased enforcement.

Where Do We Go From Here? SPUR Sets New Vision and Long-Range Goals

With vaccines rolling out and stable national leadership in place, we can trust that we will, eventually, reemerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question now is: Reemerge into what? To return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. To meet this moment, SPUR has articulated a bold vision statement and evolved our organizational mission.

Five Ideas for Rebuilding Retail in the Post-Pandemic City

The growth of online shopping has thrown the fate of retail stores into question — a challenge exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns. As we plan for a future when gathering and in-person activities are safe again, it's time to look beyond a return to the status quo and rethink retail as a tool for social and economic transformation. SPUR proposes five experimental ideas to explore.

COVID-19 and San Francisco’s Budget Deficit Lead to Lingering Questions about Spending of Soda Tax Revenue

Every year a committee of experts recommends how San Francisco's soda tax revenue should be spent. Unlike years past, the board and mayor did not adopt the majority of the recommendations most likely due to the financial toll COVID-19 has taken on cities. SPUR recommends that next year the mayor and Board of Supervisors follow the recommendations of the committee, allowing for greater transparency.

How to Repurpose Bay Area Freeways for Fast and Reliable Regional Public Transit

Imagine a Bay Area where your school, your job and your friend in the next county are no more than 30 minutes away via convenient, reliable buses zipping along uncongested freeway express lanes throughout the day. This vision is not just appealing — it's essential to delivering on our region’s transportation goals. SPUR’s latest report proposes a regional bus strategy to make it a reality.

How to Solve the Transit Budget Crunch: Price the Private Use of Public Streets

COVID-19 has been catastrophic for public transit. Plunging fare and tax revenues are forcing drastic cuts. In a guest post for SPUR, two UC Davis law professors suggest that there’s a solution right under our feet: Make private drivers pay market rates to park on the public’s roads. And yes, they argue, it’s legal.

California Legislators Introduce New Bills as 2021 Session Kicks Off

Last Monday, the California State Legislature convened to swear in members and introduce the first bills of the 2021-2022 legislative session. Here’s a round-up of notable bills that have already been introduced, including some key bills SPUR will be tracking.

2020 Vision: What This Year Taught Us to See

It’s been a hard year, and many of us are eager to close the door on 2020. At the same time, we have come to understand that to return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. As we exit this year, it’s worth understanding what 2020 served up for our collective awareness.

Bold Moves on Building Electrification in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Bay Area’s three largest cities made headlines recently when they passed bold new rules to phase out fossil fuels in buildings. San José, San Francisco and Oakland now have plans to make most new construction all-electric. These actions will make the air cleaner to breathe and slash the region’s contributions to climate change.