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

Oakland Can Use Its Work on the Proposed Howard Terminal Ballpark to Realize Inclusive Growth

News /
The Oakland A’s decision to abandon negotiations for a new stadium at Howard Terminal is a huge disappointment to Oakland and the city’s many A’s fans. Despite this setback, Oakland remains a viable city for sports investment. And Howard Terminal remains a strong candidate for development. The experience with the A’s has laid the groundwork for future projects in Oakland that meet the city’s economic, environmental, and social standards.

What Comes Next for Downtown San Francisco?

News /
Hybrid work and a scarcity of affordable housing have depopulated San Francisco’s downtown. The consequences have been devastating to San Francisco’s budget, putting essential services and surviving small businesses at risk. How can the city create more economic diversity downtown — and address pre-COVID equity and sustainability challenges? SPUR has identified four key areas on which to focus our downtown revitalization research, engagement, and advocacy.

New Transit-Oriented Communities Policy Encourages Equitable and Sustainable Development

News /
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transit Oriented Communities Policy, passed in 2022, aims to simultaneously address the climate crisis, the Bay Area’s unaffordability, and racial and economic inequities. SPUR reports on the policy’s main components and answers some critical questions, such as how local jurisdictions are being incentivized to comply with the policy and how residents can follow and become involved in its implementation.

SPUR Provides Feedback on the Zoning Incentive Program for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan

Advocacy Letter
SPUR sent a letter to Oakland’s Planning Department with comments on the Zoning Incentive Program (ZIP) for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP). In the letter, we recommend that the project team reconsider various aspects of the program, such as its narrative that value will be created if rents increase by over 20%, the complexity of its implementation, and its affordable housing requirements.

Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco’s Changing Real Estate Market

Downtown San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery is hindered by a lack of economic diversity and a shortage of workforce housing. Could converting vacant office space to residential use be a financially viable solution to both problems? In a first-of-its-kind study in San Francisco, SPUR, ULI San Francisco, Gensler and HR&A Advisors explored the physical and financial feasibility of redeveloping office buildings into housing, and identified policy tools to facilitate conversion.

Paving the Way to Downtown Revitalization: Three Cities San Francisco Can Learn From

News /
San Francisco’s office vacancy rate, one of the highest in the country, has dampened the city’s liveliness and economic prospects. Other cities are tackling the resilience challenges that office-centric downtowns face by reconsidering office building uses and creating incentives for redevelopment. San Francisco can take a page from their revitalization plans.