Model Places

Envisioning a future Bay Area with room and opportunity for everyone

SPUR Report September 21, 2020

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? To keep pace, and make the region more affordable, the Bay Area will need almost 2.2 million housing units by 2070.

SPUR partnered with AECOM to investigate what it would take to house everyone who wants to live in the Bay Area. To determine where growth should go, we used land use data to assign every part of the nine-county Bay Area to one of 14 “place types” based on urban patterns that occur throughout the region — from open spaces and residential suburbs to industrial areas and dense downtowns. 

Model Places envisions what six of these different place types could look like if they grew in ways that made them not just more equitable and more sustainable, but more livable and humanizing places to live and work.


One in a series of publications that lay the groundwork for the SPUR Regional Strategy.

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