SPUR Planning Policy Area


Our goal: Add new jobs and housing where they will support equity and sustainability, and make neighborhoods safe and welcoming to everyone.

SPUR’s Five-Year Priorities:

• Ensure that communities are safe, inclusive and equipped to meet all residents’ daily needs with a diverse mix of businesses and services.

• Prioritize investment in and access to parks, nature and public spaces as a driver for social cohesion and economic opportunity.

• Ensure that regionally significant neighborhood plans in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland advance equity, sustainability and prosperity.


Read our policy agenda

SPUR Report

Model Places

Over the next 50 years, the San Francisco Bay Area is expected to gain as many as 4 million people and 2 million jobs. In a region where a crushing housing shortage is already threatening quality of life, how can we welcome new residents and jobs without paving over green spaces or pushing out long-time community members?

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?

SPUR Report

The Future of Downtown San José

Downtown San José 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.

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.

SPUR Report

Getting to Great Places

Silicon Valley, the most dynamic and innovative economic engine in the world, is not creating great urban places. Having grown around the automobile, the valley consists largely of lowslung office parks, surface parking and suburban tract homes. SPUR’s report Getting to Great Places diagnoses the impediments San José faces in creating excellent, walkable urban places and recommends changes in policy and practice that will help meet these goals.

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.

Updates and Events

The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Downtown Detroit’s Revitalization

News /
Detroit’s downtown renaissance offers lessons for struggling Bay Area’s cities: the health of cities is intrinsically tied to the prosperity of the state, and the revitalization of downtowns is critical to the recovery of neighborhoods. Thanks to community advocacy, Detroit’s city leaders and philanthropic organizations are now funding new initiatives to ensure that future revitalization efforts promote affordable housing and homeownership, workforce development, and entrepreneurship.

Placemaking with Al Fresco Spaces: Q&A With SPUR’s Erika Pinto

News /
A new SPUR report, Making Al Fresco Work, notes that the initiative has begun to transform San José’s urban environment in ways that are consistent with the city’s larger goals of creating vibrant commercial corridors and walkable neighborhoods. We talked with Erika Pinto, SPUR’s San José planning policy manager, about proposed strategies for improving on San Jose’s current outdoor dining review processes and about the role of al fresco spaces in transforming the city’s public realm.

Making Al Fresco Work

SPUR Report
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of San José’s outdoor dining initiative extended a critical lifeline to businesses and their patrons. The program continues to be a popular way to advance economic recovery and enliven streets. SPUR recommends four strategies for improving upon the Al Fresco Initiative and expanding it to businesses and neighborhoods citywide.

The Future of Coleman Avenue

SPUR Report
Coleman Avenue sits at the intersection of several plans for San Jose’s growth. Located near downtown, the airport, and Guadalupe River Park and Gardens, it will be critical to their future success. SPUR and JLP+D present a community-informed evaluation of the Coleman Avenue corridor and make the case that developing a strategic plan for the area will be critical to leveraging it as a key connector and gateway for the city.

How the 15-Minute City Concept Can Help Shape the Evolution of San José’s Urban Form

News /
Many cities grappling with post-COVID-19 economic recovery have seized on the concept of the “15-minute city,” where people can meet most of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from home. San José embraced similar principles in 2011, when it proposed “urban villages” as a key pillar of its general plan. SPUR believes the 15-minute city concept can help San José evolve its urban form to support a more equitable and sustainable future.

SPUR Comments on Oakland's Draft Environmental Justice Element

Advocacy Letter
SPUR recently submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Justice Element of the City of Oakland 2045 General Plan Update. Overall, SPUR feels that the EJ Element Draft is a thoughtful document that effectively uses data and demonstrates a clear commitment to evidence-based, inclusionary policy. The EJ Element is an important step toward addressing Oakland's past of inequitable city planning and ensuring that all Oaklanders have access to pollution-free air, clean water, a safe home, and other positive environmental factors. In our comments, SPUR offers recommendations on how the EJ Element can be improved to meet these goals.