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

Engaging Communities During the Pandemic

News June 8, 2020
While the pandemic presents real challenges to public engagement, it is also pushing organizations to test new approaches and improve processes that are overdue for rethinking. Here are four things to keep in mind when conducting public outreach online.

SPUR Supports Efforts to Streamline Permitting for Community Businesses

Policy Letter May 28, 2020
SPUR supports Supervisor Peskin's legislation, with Planning staff's recommended modifications, to streamline the approvals and permitting processes and reduce fees for small and mid-sized businesses. This was a smart and important effort before the pandemic – and it is all the more critical today that the city provide supports to businesses seeking to start up and remain viable in our retail corridors across the city.

SPUR Supports the San José Al Fresco Initiative

Policy Letter May 28, 2020
Outdoor community connections are essential for our wellbeing, quality of life, and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. SPUR supports the proposed San José Al Fresco Initiative to reopen businesses safely and further recommends additional policy measures to support small business and commercial districts throughout San José.

The Power of the Commons: Public Spaces Will Be Critical for San José’s COVID-19 Recovery

News May 27, 2020
San José is one of five new cities to join Reimagining the Civic Commons, a national initiative advancing ambitious social, economic and environmental goals through revitalized and connected public spaces. SPUR is thrilled to be part of this project. We believe public spaces are critical infrastructure and will be essential for building a more resilient shared future as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheltering in Place Reveals How Much Parking Dominates Our Cities — and Lives

News April 27, 2020
Shelter in place has made it starkly evident just how much space cities allocate to cars and parking. The City of San José is currently considering changes to the amount of parking it requires of new development. All of this makes it a good time to unpack the many ways that parking impacts neighborhoods and quality of life.

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