• The Urbanist

    Selected articles from our magazine
Issue 562
January 2018 to February 2018

Reading the City

What’s your favorite book about cities? Urbanists offer their suggestions.
SPUR put out the call to planners, architects, designers, developers, professors, technologists and others with a simple question: What’s your favorite book about cities? We invite you to peruse this list and read to your heart’s content. Read More »

SPUR Welcomes Adhi Nagraj as San Francisco Director

SPUR is pleased to announce the appointment of Adhi Nagraj as its new San Francisco Director. Adhi most recently worked for BRIDGE Housing as a director of development. He is also the chair of the Oakland Planning Commission and was appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the Board of the California Housing Partnership Corporation, a statewide affordable housing finance and policy organization. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: I Love the Post Office

Give it up for America’s under-appreciated infrastructure workhorse!
An infrastructure enthusiast shares his fasciation with the vast variety of post office architecture around the country. Read More »

Member Profile: Doug Farr

Since reading Manual of the Plan of Chicago as an 8th grader, this architect has had his eye on creating a better urban future.
Architect Doug Farr describes himself as “a perpetual volunteer.” He serves on not one but three boards, EcoDistricts, Elevate Energy and Illinois Green, and is former board chair of the Congress for the New Urbanism. We talked to him about Chicago, Detroit, his new book and how to speed up the process of making real change. Read More »
Issue 561
November 2017 to December 2017

The California Resistance

This year California opposed the federal government on immigration, climate change and human rights, among other issues. As the country’s electorate continues to polarize, we are entering a phase of American history in which the limits of federalism will be tested. California, as one of the “bluest” states in the union, pushed those limits the furthest in 2017. Read More »

A Big Year for Housing

A record 15 housing related bill package was signed into law in 2017 with the goal of helping to curb the housing crisis. The package won’t solve California’s housing crisis, but it does set in motion a much-needed shift away from deference to local discretion over the housing approval process and will enable thousands of additional households to win the subsidized housing lottery. Read More »

San Jose’s Urban Ambitions Coming to Life

Plans for Google to develop almost 8 million square feet of office space near Diridon Station coincide with a massive growth spurt in the city. If a significant amount of new jobs are concentrated in the station area, Diridon can become a major economic engine for San Jose and the South Bay. Read More »

Development (Finally) Comes to Oakland

6,675 residential housing units are under construction — a huge jump from the 765 that were built in 2014. This represents the biggest residential building boom in Oakland since the post-World War II era and is a dramatic turnaround for a city that saw a modest population decline in the first decade of this century. Read More »

The Next Weird

After years of record drought and a winter of record rainfall, we saw a summer of record wildfires — as well as alarm over what certainly feels like impending planetary chaos. The California we once knew no longer exists, and our new climate change reality demands unprecedented action at breakneck speeds. Read More »

California Passes a Big Transportation Package

SB 1 raises more than $5 billion per year in perpetuity, equivalent to a 45 percent increase over current funding. The bill seems poised to address the $59 billion backlog of road and highway repairs and represents an important step in an era of dwindling federal support for such projects. Read More »

The Outflow of Bay Area Residents Spreads to Higher Income Levels

Over the last few years, the incomes of those moving into the Bay Area have risen faster than Bay Area wages, suggesting that the deterrence of potential newcomers is occurring at higher income levels than before. Similarly, the concurrent rise in the income of those moving out suggests that the ranks of people “crowded out” have swelled to include higher earners than ever before. Read More »
Issue 560
September 2017 to October 2017

Homelessness in the Bay Area

Solving the problem of homelessness is arguably our region’s greatest challenge.
The Bay Area has one of the largest and least sheltered homeless populations in the country. Over the past year, the SPUR Board of Directors convened a study group to learn more about homelessness — both its causes and its possible solutions. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Capturing Caltrain

A planner and photographer finds moments of beauty on his daily commute.
If you set a goal of taking and posting a photo every day, you’ll probably find yourself memorializing your commute a bit. If you get to work via Caltrain, you’ve got a great photographic subject. Read More »

Member Profile: Jocelyn Ross

A latecomer to urbanism leaves her “driving in the suburbs” mindset behind. 
Jocelyn Ross had never heard the term “urbanism” when she first moved to San Francisco five years ago. Now she's a full-fledged flaneur. Read More »

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