News

A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Staff Profile: Sarah Karlinsky, 18-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 Sarah Karlinsky, SPUR’s senior advisor, who has held five different roles since she first started at the organization in 2005.

SPUR’s First 10 Years in San José

This year, SPUR celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its work in San José. To commemorate all we’ve learned and accomplished together, we asked a dozen SPUR and South Bay leaders to reflect on what San José was like at the time, what SPUR brought to the city and how both have evolved over the past decade.

Research Fellows and Interns Make Major Contributions to SPUR’s Work

During the last two academic years, SPUR has been fortunate to host a talented group of policy researchers through partnerships with graduate school fellowship and practicum programs. Their research has contributed to SPUR’s work, including policy changes and proposed legislation at the regional and state levels. Learn more about the work they’ve done with SPUR and what they’ve gone on to do after collaborating with us.

Key SPUR Food and Ag Policies Get National Limelight

After a 50-year hiatus, the White House is hosting its second-ever Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. In an effort to frame the agenda for the conference, a coalition of organizations has released a report proposing 30 federal policy recommendations. Three of SPUR’s top priorities at the state and local level are among those recommendations, and they are now firmly in the national spotlight as the conference approaches.

The IRA Is Historic, but We Still Need Prop. 30 to Fight Climate Change

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Biden last month, is the largest ever federal investment in fighting climate change. While we as Americans should be taking a victory lap for this momentous achievement, we should not for one moment think that the investments in the IRA are alone sufficient to tackle climate change. To win this generation’s greatest fight, we will need major continued investments at the federal, state and local levels. That’s why SPUR is supporting Prop. 30, a measure which would make historic investments in fighting climate change — investments that pay off in the form of fuel cost savings and avoided premature deaths, asthma attacks and cleaner air.

Housing for Everyone, the Danish Way

Over the last 100 years, Denmark has taken structural and local policy implementation approaches to housing that have much to teach the Bay Area. We got to meet leaders in government, architecture, housing and sustainability who shared their insights and fielded our group’s many questions about how the city renewed its urban core without demolition and how it builds two types of housing that we don’t have: social housing and housing co-ops.

How Copenhagen Can Inspire Bay Area Cities to Go Big on Bikes

Bicycles and bicyclists are among the first things you notice when you arrive in Copenhagen — there’s an endless sea of bikes parked at every major train station plaza and lined up along every building. Though our region has a long way to go, Bay Area cities can take relevant lessons — and inspiration — from Copenhagen’s bicycle planning history, its pragmatic approach and its regional aspirations.

Finding a Way to Build: Can the Bay Area Learn from Copenhagen’s 1990s Reinvention?

Comparing 2022 Copenhagen to the Bay Area of 2022 is like comparing apples to oranges. Aside from a few one-offs, most projects in Copenhagen would not be easily transferable to the Bay Area at scale due to foundational differences in the way our governments operate, from the national level on down. What would be more transferable would be to apply the lessons learned in the 1990s-era Copenhagen to the Bay Area in 2022.

The Sustainable City: Learning from Copenhagen’s Plan for Zero Carbon

Copenhagen has set a goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. On our study trip this summer, we learned that the city’s commitment to sustainability is embedded in its long-range land use plans and goes back to the middle of the 20th century. Copenhagen’s success in realizing these plans comes from a strategic combination of investments and partnerships that have made it possible to create urban neighborhoods with mixed-income housing, transit access, bicycle lanes and green infrastructure. Together, all of these efforts contribute to the goal of a zero-carbon city.

SPUR’s Plan to Decarbonize the Urban Center

Sometimes, decarbonizing a building isn’t all that hard, the owners are equipped to shoulder the costs, and obtaining permits is fast and straightforward. Those cases are worth examining, because the state needs early movers to build a robust market for zero-emission technology to bring costs down for others. Enter the SPUR Urban Center. Built in 2009 to LEED Silver standards, SPUR’s downtown San Francisco headquarters was designed to be a community gathering space and a symbol of the region’s sustainability values.