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

What’s Next for Guadalupe River Park and San José?

News /
Since 2018, one of SPUR’s top priorities has been research and planning for San José's Guadalupe River Park. The initial phase of this work culminated in January with a virtual exhibition. We are now excited to announce our plans to move forward with policy ideas for the river park and other areas in and around downtown San José, supported by essential funding from the Knight Foundation.

With a New Policy for Growth Near Transit, MTC Can Center Equity and Sustainability

News /
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has put forth a promising proposal for a new regional transit-oriented communities policy that would support new housing at all income levels, new jobs, sustainable access to transit, and protection from displacement in transit-rich areas. In crafting the final policy, MTC’s commissioners must not only maintain the ambition of the current proposal but leverage the agency’s funding authority to ensure that the policy is implemented.

Supporting San José Through the Pandemic — and Beyond

News /
During the early days of COVID-19, San José's Al Fresco program closed some streets and opened parking lots to allow businesses to operate outside. SPUR advocated for the program, and we believe it’s worth extending beyond the pandemic. We’re pleased to announce that, through investment made by the Knight Foundation, we will continue to support the development of an ongoing Al Fresco program that's feasible in public and private outdoor spaces.

The Bay Area Parking Census

SPUR Report
For decades, parking in the Bay Area has been both ubiquitous and uncounted. Now SPUR and the Mineta Transportation Institute have produced the San Francisco Bay Area Parking Census, the most detailed assessment of parking infrastructure ever produced for the region. The census helps fill data gaps about parking to inform policy reforms and will help policymakers make better decisions for the future of Bay Area cities.

SPUR considers activation plans for San José's Guadalupe River Park and Gardens

Policy Letter
The San José City Council discussed the future of activation plans proposed for Guadalupe River Park and Gardens to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations that mandate no residential uses in the area by June 30th, 2022. While we support plans to develop a prototype park for community benefit and active use, we have concerns that current plans do not center the need for the further identification and allocation of resources for accelerated rehousing of the unhoused community at Guadalupe River Park.