Climate discourse has often relied on moral platitudes, abstract facts and figures, and an over-emphasis on the consequences of climate change to incite action. What if instead we turned to a framework of justice and equity? SPUR’s Ideas + Action 2021: Sustainability & Resilience symposium focused on how to create a climate movement centered on community and people. International climate experts, elected officials and environmental leaders discussed the perils, progress and path forward to creating a hopeful, sustainable future.
With the pandemic lifting and California re-opening, now is the time to commit to overcoming long-standing challenges made worse over the past year. If we really want to make progress on homelessness, traffic the climate crisis and more, we need a bold vision, a long-term strategy and solutions of a similar scale to the problems themselves. It’s time to start building the thriving, equitable Bay Area of 2070.
Remember the summer of 2021? Everyone was thrilled that COVID was largely contained and that California was reopening. But that sense of relief didn’t last long. Housing was too expensive. More people were falling into homelessness. Drought was everywhere. But that was then. By 2070, we turned a region on the precipice of dystopia into a sustainable, affordable and equitable place to live. Here's how we did it.
One of the barriers to restoring Bay Area transit ridership after the pandemic is the fragmented nature of our public transit system, which can discourage people from riding. To stimulate recovery of both the transit system and the economy, policymakers are now pushing for changes that will welcome riders back and make regional transit work for more people. To make the most of these opportunities, SPUR believes six principles should guide this work.
SPUR’s recently released Regional Strategy outlines a vision for the Bay Area of 2070 as an equitable, sustainable and prosperous region. The strategy provides a roadmap for building that future and centers deep regional cooperation as critical to transformational change. To celebrate the release of the project, four Bay Area civic leaders gathered on May 13 to talk about the role of regionalism in advancing a future where everyone thrives.
Large venues like convention centers, stadiums and sports arenas play an important role in the social and economic life of cities. As public spaces, they bring people together to be inspired, celebrate victory (or commiserate loss) and share passions. At the same time, they are critical economic drivers, contributing to a city’s tax base and bolstering the sales of nearby businesses. However, over the last decade there's been a shift in thinking about how these centers can be better integrated into their communities as mixed-use destinations that focus on placemaking and people.
Automated speed safety systems are in place in more than 150 communities around the United States. Such systems offer the potential to reduce traffic violence and establish a more equitable framework of traffic enforcement. But those outcomes are not guaranteed. Achieving them requires thoughtful planning and design, an opportunity that California now has as legislators consider Assembly Bill 550, which would authorize a 5-year speed safety camera pilot program in six California cities.
Three years ago, SPUR undertook an initiative to envision a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Bay Area for all and propose the bold strategies needed to get there. On May 13, we will release the completed SPUR Regional Strategy, providing a clear vision for the region’s next 50 years.
SPUR has welcomed 13 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 advisership as we continue our work to make the Bay Area a place where everyone can thrive.
California has experienced unprecedented wildfire damage in the last several years as climate change has increased temperatures and dried out land and vegetation. The seven largest wildfires in recorded California history have all taken place in the last four years. As a state, we need to develop tools to help us combat wildfire risk in order to save lives, homes and communities.