• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Remembering John Kriken

January 31, 2020 By Jim Chappell, former Executive Director of SPUR
Architect, urban designer, city planner, teacher and long-time SPUR member John Kriken died on January 23 after a long illness. A retired Skidmore, Owings & Merrill partner and the founder of the firm’s Urban Design and Planning Studio, he helped turn the firm into one of the world’s most famous designers of cities. His plans and designs are legion across the Bay Area and Asia.

Leading With Public Space: The Case for Guadalupe River Park

January 30, 2020 By Michelle Huttenhoff, Placemaking and Public Life Policy Director
We are excited to announce that, through investment made by the Knight Foundation and in partnership with the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, SPUR will embark on a three-year research and planning project for Guadalupe River Park. Our work will focus on understanding the park’s current challenges, investigating what is possible, raising community understanding and awareness, and inspiring a conversation around the power of place.

To Achieve Seamless Transit, We Must Change What and How We Build

December 18, 2019 By Laura Tolkoff, Regional Planning Policy Director, and Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Director
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has made some big improvements to its methodology for assessing transportation proposals and deciding which ones to recommend for funding. What’s more, the improved tool provides a useful diagnostic for how project funding and planning in the Bay Area needs to change. SPUR offers three key observations on what this new perspective means for the next generation of transportation investments.

A Bolder Vision for Downtown Oakland

December 17, 2019 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
After years of work, the City of Oakland is close to completing a specific plan for downtown Oakland. While the current draft is a great improvement over earlier drafts, SPUR believes that the plan needs to be more visionary and that it should encourage both jobs and housing — and put them in the right places.

Bringing Big Ideas to Life in San Jose

December 12, 2019 By Teresa Alvarado, San Jose Director
For San Jose, 2019 was a year of planning for the big ideas launched in 2018. The city made major progress on the policy analysis, planning processes and community dialogue needed to realize those visions, with some notable milestones.

Don’t Dismiss Transportation Pilot Projects: We Need More Wild Ideas

November 15, 2019 By Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Director
When cities and transit agencies pilot new kinds of services, the early ridership numbers are not always strong, leading many to dismiss the new ideas — and the agencies for trying them. But this skepticism undermines the purpose of pilots: to test new ways to get people out of their cars. Rather than pooh-poohing pilots, we should embrace them as a chance to learn.

A New Vision for Coyote Valley

November 14, 2019 By Michelle Huttenhoff, San Jose Policy Director, and Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
San Jose’s Coyote Valley is a paradox: Just 20 minutes south of downtown, miles of farmland and open space provide natural habitat for rare and endangered species. For a decade, locals have debated whether to preserve the land or build manufacturing space and grow jobs. Last week, San Jose City Council settled the debate, agreeing to purchase and preserve more than 900 acres.

Kincade Fire: It Will Take a Region to Combat Our Shared Threats

October 29, 2019 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
The Kincade Fire has forced the largest-ever evacuation of Sonoma County and threatens areas that are still recovering from the devastating fires of 2017. As the climate changes, the threats to California communities are becoming more frequent and more severe. And if we don’t plan regionally, the resilience investments we do make may not have the expected payoff.

How California Can Stop Sprawl, Reduce Emissions and Strengthen Regional Economies — All at the Same Time

October 28, 2019 By Laura Tolkoff, Regional Planning Policy Director
California can address many of its issues at once by adding new jobs and housing around passenger rail stations. In September, SPUR partnered with Governor Newsom's Regions Rise Together initiative to hold a half-day workshop for California cities with rail stations. Together we asked: How can the state help cities spur compact growth and economic development near rail?

2019 Silver SPUR Awards: How Michael Krasny's Storytelling Informs and Engages San Francisco

October 28, 2019
2019 Silver SPUR Honoree Michael Krasny, Ph.D., is a professor of English language and literature at SFSU and host of KQED’s “Forum with Michael Krasny.” He discovered literature at a young age and has been telling poignant stories through his numerous books and radio show ever since. Michael serves the public through broadcast journalism that spreads information about the world’s most pressing topics.

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