A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Remembering Anne Halsted

Long-time SPUR Board Member and former Board Chair Anne Halsted, one of the organization’s great champions and a vital civic leader in the San Francisco Bay Area, passed away on March 13. Anne was a phenomenal woman with a distinguished history of civic engagement, neighborhood activism and mentoring women in their careers.

Investment in City Infrastructure is an Investment in America's future

Metropolitan areas have had a difficult year, navigating concurrent crises from rolling out mass vaccination campaigns, reckoning with impacts of systemic racism and addressing climate change — all while preparing for challenges such as impending evictions and the uncertainty of what the future of work will be. SPUR, Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council and New York’s Regional Planning Association believe that there is one urgent priority our federal government can address to help cities jump start their recovery: investing in infrastructure.

Building the Future Together: Our Goals for SPUR’s Work in Oakland

Incoming Oakland Director Ronak Davé Okoye shares her goals and vision for SPUR’s work in Oakland. Through a participatory process that allows a cross-section of people to imagine and develop ideas together, we can get to better outcomes for Oaklanders: more housing across income and type, authentic relationships between residents and the public and private sectors, responsive systems, shared prosperity.

Expanding Healthy Food Incentives Increases Community Wealth

For years now, research has shown that healthy food incentive programs, like SPUR’s Double Up Food Bucks, improve health. What new research shows, in a more comprehensive way than ever before, is that healthy food incentive programs also improve community wealth.

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.