A Roadmap for St. James Park

A strategy for bringing St. James Park to life through innovative governance and stewardship

White Paper

Like older downtown parks throughout the country, San Jose’s St. James Park has suffered from disinvestment as new growth moved elsewhere and competing civic needs diverted funding. In recent years, the park has come to be characterized by homelessness and other social problems.

Today downtown San Jose is experiencing new vitality and growth. Decades of reinvestment in downtown are paying off, and residents of the region are developing a new appreciation of downtown living. Now is the time for the downtown community and the city to initiate a program of focused stewardship and enhanced resources that can transform St. James Park into the jewel it deserves to be.

In consultation with the San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services and the Office of Economic Development, SPUR has developed a management strategy for turning around St. James Park over time. The goal of the project is to return St. James Park to a premier civic space that is used and loved by residents, businesses and visitors alike. This white paper recommends a preferred management and governance strategy that will create the foundation for improved stewardship, a renewed vision, additional resources and eventual capital improvements.


The primary author of this paper was SPUR Urban Design Policy Director Benjamin Grant, with assistance from Jim Chappell and Jonathan Goldberg, MJM Management Group.

Thanks to the generous support of the John S. and  James L. Knight Foundation.