• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
Issue 570
April 2019 to May 2019

A Field Guide to California Urbanism

Five tropes of city life that originated in the Golden State
California might be the most mythologized landscape in existence, from the glossy pools and palm trees of reality TV to the neurosis-inducing freeways and subidivisions of film and literature. But little has been said about urbanism as one of the state’s contributions to the world. A Bay Area writer launches a project to catalog the phenomenon that is California urbanism, one trope at a time. Read More »

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

Working with nature to plan for sea level rise
As the climate continues to change, communities will need to adapt the San Francisco Bay shoreline to rising sea levels. But the Bay’s varied landscapes and overlapping jurisdictions make a coordinated response challenging. The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas proposes a new regional planning framework by dividing the 400-mile Bay shoreline into 30 distinct geographic areas that share common physical characteristics and adaptation strategies. Read More »

Member Profile: Thang Do

For this citizen architect, designing sustainable cities is a moral imperative.
SPUR Board Member Thang Do is an architect and the CEO of Aedis, a design firm working primarily in the education sector. He is also the owner of SoFA Market, a food hall in San Jose’s arts and culture district, and the Fountainhead Bar, an architecture-themed bar inside the market. His love of cities dates back to his childhood memories of Saigon's colonial French architecture. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: The Hawker Centers of Singapore

In this dynamic city, street food takes center stage.
Singapore's population consists of three major ethnic groups plus a large immigrant population. Food plays a crucial role in bringing these different cultures together, and hawker centers — public spaces for street-food vending — are the direct spatial manifestation of this role in the urban fabric. Read More »
Issue 569
February 2019 to March 2019

Bay Area Place Types

As part of its ongoing regional strategy work, SPUR has developed 14 place types to provide a tangible portrait of the region. Read More »

Member Profile: Tina Barseghian

Tina Barseghian has spent her journalism career covering a diverse array of topics from craft to education to travel. A through line to all of these seemingly disparate beats? Cities. Read More »
Issue 568
December 2018 to January 2019

Legalizing Better Land Use

California passed a huge BART housing bill, the latest legislation geared toward addressing the state’s housing shortage. This sets higher standards for local land use, but it remains to be seen if they will result in more building. Read More »

Transit Ridership on the Decline Across the U.S.

Transit ridership fell in 31 of 35 major metropolitan areas in the United States last year, including the seven cities that serve the majority of riders. In contrast to the national picture, some Bay Area transit is seeing increased ridership, but the shift away from cars will continue to be an uphill battle. Read More »

Cities Commit to Carbon Neutrality

San Francisco hosted the Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018, inspiring deeper commitments on climate change from governments and organizations around the world — including new 100 percent renewable energy and carbon-neutrality targets for California. Despite federal inaction on climate change, the United States is still all in — and is making significant progress. Read More »

Scooters Hit the Streets (and a Nerve)

Electric scooters descended on the streets of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose in 2018. Initially they were scorned, but by the end of 2018 cities and residents across the Bay Are started warming up to scooters. Might we be ready to embrace these small, electric mobility devices as part of a broader solution to the transportation challenges cities face today? Read More »

Can We Still Be a Country of Immigrants?

At year’s end, President Trump shut down the federal government in an effort to get funding to build a border wall, the latest in an ongoing effort to limit U.S. immigration. It will fundamentally change the role of America’s cities if the United States decides to no longer be a country of immigrants. Read More »

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