Issue 575 Spring 2020

Photo by Kat Kester

Rising Together

SPUR is hard at work developing policies to address the COVID-19 crisis

Urbanist Article

UPDATED July 22, 2020: SPUR’s policy work and recommendations in response to COVID-19 can now be found at our Rising Together initiative page.

SPUR was founded over 100 years ago to help San Francisco rebuild after the 1906 earthquake. Now, as then, SPUR’s job is to help the region recover from a crisis and emerge more resilient, more sustainable, more equitable and more prosperous. We are calling this work Rising Together.  

This hopeful agenda is grounded in principles we share as a region — principles this pandemic reminds us of every day. We rise together if we prepare for the crises we know are coming — whether climate change, earthquakes or future pandemics. We rise together when our natural systems are strong. We rise together when we focus on raising up and protecting those of us who are most vulnerable. We rise together when we all work together.

Over the coming weeks, SPUR will be proposing bold actions that state, regional and local governments can take as the Bay Area emerges from this pandemic. We will advocate for aggressive action to put tens of thousands of our neighbors back to work building affordable housing and transportation infrastructure and for projects that will safeguard the region from climate-related catastrophe. We will propose powerful policies to help everyone get outside while safely socially distancing, with a particular focus on communities that have seen systemic underinvestment in parks and public space. We will work to ensure that people are safe from hunger. And we will share what SPUR has learned about successful responses to major earthquakes to help the region recover from this pandemic.

We will also be extending our Digital Discourse series, online panels and public programs on topics ranging from housing affordability to the future of public space.

To work quickly and effectively, we will be accelerating our policy research cycle, writing short policy briefs covering key actions that governments must take in the time of COVID-19. We will continue to bring together experts and public decision-makers to grapple with some of the greatest challenges the Bay Area faces as part of the recovery, creating a space where the best ideas can reach the key decision-makers. And we will be leaning hard to advocate for the ideas that have the greatest potential to create change, partnering closely with groups who share our values.

As we embark on this work, we will draw on more than a century of deep knowledge and relationships in the region to nimbly deploy our policy expertise. We will be responsive to both the changing facts on the ground and the changing political realities. We will work in deep partnership with our community to turn policy ideas into concrete actions. We will take a pragmatic approach, while appealing to the region’s highest aspirations. By deploying our best ideas in response to this crisis, we will help the Bay Area emerge stronger than ever.