Community Planning

Our goal: Build great neighborhoods.

SPUR's community planning agenda:

• Conduct neighborhood planning within a regional context.
• Preserve our most important historic resources while allowing for growth and change.
• Create new buildings that exemplify the highest quality architecture.
• Make public spaces that people love to spend time in.

Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change

Neighborhood Planning

  • SPUR Report

    Taking Down a Freeway to Reconnect a Neighborhood

    Highway 280 and the Caltrain railyards create barriers between SoMa, Potrero Hill and Mission Bay. But San Francisco has the opportunity to advance bold new ideas to enhance both the transportation system and the public realm.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Francisco

    The movement of jobs to suburban office parks is as much of a threat to the environment as residential sprawl — if not a greater one. Our best strategy is to channel more job growth to existing centers, like transit-rich downtown San Francisco.

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  • SPUR Report

    The Future of Downtown San Jose

    Downtown San Jose is the most walkable, transit-oriented place in the South Bay. But it needs more people. SPUR identifies six big ideas for achieving a more successful and active downtown.

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  • SPUR Report

    A Downtown for Everyone

    Downtown Oakland is poised to take on a more important role in the region. But the future is not guaranteed. An economic boom could stall — or take off in a way that harms the city’s character, culture and diversity. How can downtown grow while providing benefits to all?

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  • Urbanist Article

    The Future of the Berryessa BART Station

    As BART arrives in Silicon Valley, San Jose has a unique chance to shape growth around its first station. Land uses that support BART ridership will be key to the success of Berryessa Station — and the future of the area around it.

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Public Spaces

  • SPUR Report

    Getting to Great Places

    San Jose's ambitious General Plan imagines a dramatic shift away from suburban landscapes to “complete neighborhoods” that provide services and amenities close to homes, jobs and transit. SPUR recommends changes in policy and practice to get there.

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  • White Paper

    A Roadmap for St. James Park

    Like older downtown parks throughout the country, San Jose’s St. James Park has suffered from disinvestment in recent years. SPUR recommends steps to create a renewed vision for the park through improved stewardship and governance.

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  • SPUR Report

    Secrets of San Francisco

    Dozens of office buildings in San Francisco include privately owned public open spaces or “POPOS.” SPUR evaluates these spaces and lays out recommendations to improve existing POPOS and guide the development of new ones.

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  • Piero N. Patri Fellowship

    The Piero N. Patri Fellowship in Urban Design offers firsthand experience working in the urban design and planning field on a project that will have a positive impact on San Francisco and the Bay Area.

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Historic Resources

  • SPUR Report

    Historic Preservation in San Francisco

    San Francisco's distinctive architecture is one of its great assets. It’s critical to protect this historic fabric while supporting growth and change in the right locations. How can the city integrate preservation into its processes for land use planning?

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New Buildings

  • Project Review

    SPUR'S Project Review Advisory Board looks at Bay Area development proposals of citywide or regional importance, evaluating their potential to enhance the vitality of their city and region according to SPUR’s policy priorities and principles of good placemaking.

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  • White Paper

    Cracking the Code

    Great urban design is essential to creating sustainable, walkable cities. But some city codes undermine urban design principles. How might San Jose raise the bar? By addressing the ground rules of design within the municipal code.

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Advanced Search

  • Find more of SPUR's community planning research

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Updates and Events

Getting Local Land Use Approvals Right

News October 9, 2018
What can California and its cities do to bring down the soaring costs of housing? Land entitlement is one process that could be reformed to speed up the construction of new housing and reduce costs. At a recent SPUR forum, researchers and planners discussed how state and city reforms might (or might not) streamline the approval processes.

How Can We Create the Best User Experience at Diridon Station?

News October 2, 2018
Creating a great user experience at the redeveloped Diridon Station will be critical to whether people embrace the station and use transit. If Diridon’s transit services are going to compete with the automobile — or the next big transportation technology — the partners developing the station will need to focus on the user as the primary driver in their planning efforts .

Lessons for Guadalupe River Park: How D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park Promotes Inclusion

News September 5, 2018
The proposed transformation of downtown San Jose opens up an opportunity to create iconic and welcoming public spaces where the community can gather. That's why SPUR has launched a major initiative to re-envision the Guadalupe River Park. We invited Scott Kratz of Washington, D.C.'s 11th Street Bridge Park to share lessons learned from the inclusive effort to realize the community’s ambitions for the project.

How Can San Jose Bring Urban Villages to Life?

News August 7, 2018
In May, the San Jose City Council took an important step toward realizing the city’s general plan when it approved a framework for implementing neighborhood plans known as urban village plans. SPUR strongly supports these steps but believes that even bigger ones must be taken in order for urban villages to succeed. Here are three ways to ensure they live up to their promise.

Lessons for Guadalupe River Park: Thinking Big Together to Plan the Los Angeles River

News August 6, 2018
As downtown San Jose grows, the city has a unique opportunity to reimagine the underutilized Guadalupe River Park as the green centerpiece of an expanded city center. Omar Brownson of River LA recently visited SPUR to share his experience leading the charge to revitalize the Los Angeles River. The group’s focus on a collective vision offers lessons for San Jose and Guadalupe River Park.

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