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

Regional Coalition urges MTC-ABAG Planning Committee to retain TOC Compliance Requirements

Advocacy Letter
On October 13th, MTC staff presented to the MTC-ABAG Planning Committee proposed actions to amend funding conditioning for transit rail extension projects from complying with the TOC Policy. Our coalition expressed concern with the proposed amendments that would delay or lower thresholds for compliance - weakening the policy in the process and undermining its purpose of helping the region achieve its goals under Plan Bay Area. We are particularly concerned that the proposed changes could significantly undermine the climate and equity goals of the policy.

From Workspace to Homebase

Converting empty offices into apartments could both reanimate downtown San Francisco and provide housing for more people in an area rich in transit, jobs, culture, recreation, and entertainment. In a first-of-its-kind study, SPUR and ULI San Francisco, in partnership with Gensler and HR&A Advisors, explored the physical suitability of converting office buildings to housing and tested the financial feasibility of such projects. Our report lays out six policy imperatives for realizing office-to-housing conversions on a large scale.

Can San José’s Santa Clara Street Become a Place to Be and Belong?

News /
Historically, Santa Clara Street was San José’s “main street.” Today, it is oriented toward vehicle traffic, which can make it an unpleasant, even dangerous, place. The city and its community partners are embarking on a re-envisioning of Santa Clara Street focused on people, placemaking, and programming. Could proposals to “re-enchant” the world’s most famous grand boulevard, the Champs-Élysées, be a model for this planning effort?

Joint Letter in Support of City of San José Parks and Placemaking Funding

Advocacy Letter
We represent a broad base of interested stakeholders and organizations who are writing to express our firm belief that funding for parks and placemaking should be protected in the city’s budget as cuts are considered to balance a newly approved labor agreement. In these times of San José’s evolving urbanization, preserving our parks and placemaking efforts is an investment in the future. The pandemic demonstrated the indispensable offerings that parks and public spaces bring to the community – parks and public spaces are “essential services” not simply “nice to haves.”

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.