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Article December 17, 2014

After a five-year process, San Jose adopted an area plan for Diridon Station — already a major transit hub for the South Bay. With plans for high-speed rail and BART Silicon Valley in the works, the Diridon Station area is set to become one of the state’s most important connection points. The plan's vision for dense mixed-use growth could become a model for transit-oriented development.

Article December 16, 2014

2014 began as the driest year ever recorded in California. It is likely to close out as the fourth driest year in more than a thousand years — even with our recent storms. The worst drought in more than 30 years is forcing the state to reckon with its anachronistic water management system, and to find solutions for this century’s changing climate and growing population.

Article December 16, 2014

Housing affordability is the No. 1 problem in San Francisco and, increasingly, in the other cities of the region. SPUR's approach proceeds from two primary ideas: try many different solutions, and think at the regional scale while acting at the local scale. We take a look at progress made so far — and the work still left to do.

Blog December 12, 2014

In November, planning officials from San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland met to share their progress in implementing Plan Bay Area, the region's long-range vision for transportation and land use planning. How these cities manage future growth will have ramifications for the entire region.

Blog December 10, 2014

After years of legal and financial delays, San Francisco’s three biggest residential projects have taken steps toward becoming reality. Together, they make up most of the proposed housing units in the city’s construction pipelineThe first 88 units at the Hunters Point Shipyard are nearing the end of construction, while Parkmerced and Treasure Island, both stalled by legal action, have prevailed in court.

Blog December 3, 2014

Silicon Valley has become one of the most expensive housing markets nationwide, and funding for affordable housing in Santa Clara County has been steadily decreasing or stagnating. Last month the San Jose City Council approved an affordable housing impact fee to be paid by developers. Once it’s fully operational, the program is anticipated to generate between $20 and $30 million per year for affordable housing.

 
Blog December 3, 2014

When it comes to weighing city policy priorities, parks have historically come up short on the ability to demonstrate their economic value. But San Francisco's open spaces and recreational opportunities are actually worth about $1 billion per year, according to a new report from the Trust for Public Land and the SF Parks Alliance.

Blog December 3, 2014

2014 has been a great year for urbanism. Now is a perfect time to take stock of all we accomplished, with your support. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s what we'll be working on in the new year — and how you can help.

Blog November 25, 2014

More than half of commuters in the Bay Area drive alone to work every day. Similar to most regions, transportation in the Bay Area is the largest source of pollution and the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. But some real progress is being made through local commuter incentives, and now a new program will take them region wide.

Yes on D Sign from Berkeley
Blog November 25, 2014

This election, for the first time ever, a majority of voters in two American cities supported taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley voters passed their measure, while San Francisco's measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, fell short.  The results raise the question: why did Berkeley’s measure do so much better than San Francisco’s? A number of factors were at play.

Blog November 12, 2014

From a regional perspective, there’s one pretty clear outcome of the recent election: Smart growth and infill development won at the ballot box. Across half a dozen measures, Bay Area voters rejected NIMBY-led downzoning, approved height increases in their downtowns, reaffirmed urban growth boundaries and voted against sprawl development.

Article November 11, 2014

There has never been so much data available as there is now. More and more people are using it to make maps that are transforming the way we design, build and understand cities. A new exhibition at SPUR explores how maps are transforming the way we navigate and understand our contemporary urban experience.

Blog November 10, 2014

Knight Foundation’s support for SPUR’s new office in San Jose — a $1.775 million challenge grant over five years — will help catalyze the civic conversation around the city’s urban future. The funding provides a runway as SPUR builds capacity to be the leading civic partner for the City of San Jose as it undertakes the most ambitious growth plan of any American city.

Blog November 10, 2014

Regardless of what happened at the national level, our local elections were full of good news for urbanism. Ballot measures that passed in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland marked major victories for transit, open space and higher minimum wages across the region.

Blog November 5, 2014

The past and future growth of the local food economy, and all the benefits it provides to the Bay Area, depend on the food and beverage manufactures and distributors who often operate behind-the-scenes. Recognizing this, SPUR partnered with the San Francisco Planning Department and Office of Economic and Workforce Development to develop recommendations for how the city can better support these businesses.

Blog October 29, 2014

The re-envisioning of San Francisco’s streets has been ongoing for more than four decades now, but there is still much work to do. Here are five reasons why the city's pioneering 1973 Transit First policy is more relevant than ever.

Blog October 21, 2014

In cities like San Francisco, where housing is expensive and the market is competitive, emotional reactions can inform the policy debate. Is San Francisco’s housing supply being taken up by people who own units they don’t live in? Our study, Non-Primary Residences and San Francisco’s Housing Market takes an analytical approach, looking at numbers from the 2012 American Community Survey.

Blog October 16, 2014

San Jose is about to choose a new mayor — a decision that will affect the city for decades to come. To help voters get to know the candidates and their positions on our issues, SPUR held a debate between the two contenders vying for the seat, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo.

Blog October 9, 2014

This November, after years of intense stakeholder negotiations, Proposition 1 — the latest in a decade-long series of state water bonds — will be decided by California voters. This $7.5 billion general obligation bond would fund water supply, ecosystems, water quality, groundwater cleanup, conservation, recycling and reuse. SPUR takes a look at the details of this complicated, and controversial, ballot measure.

Blog October 9, 2014

Last week’s UN Climate Summit saw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, 125 heads of state and hundreds of business leaders converge on New York City for the most encouraging movement on climate action in years. For a movement that often stalls out in pessimism and fatigue, these events represented a surprising shift of tone — and a few reasons for hope.

Good. To Go. Banner at Emit Mini Mart in San Jose
Blog October 6, 2014

Fresh food is coming to dozens of corner stores in San Jose as part of a new “Good. To Go.” initiative that launched this September. Organized by the Health Trust and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley, the program aims to increase San Jose residents’ access to healthier food by improving the options available at smaller retailers.

SPUR Report October 1, 2014

The Bay Area has one of the strongest economies in the world, but the benefits of that prosperity are not universally shared. Over a third of the workforce earns less than $18 an hour. How can we make sure the region’s rising economic tide lifts all boats? The Economic Prosperity Strategy identifies a comprehensive, three-pronged approach to economic mobility for low- and moderate-wage workers.

Blog October 1, 2014

California’s landmark environmental bill AB 32 mandated a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The policies it set in place have worked, and the state is on track to meet its goal. But what happens after 2020? With this target date less than six years away, it’s time to set a new objective for continued success in reducing emissions.

Blog October 1, 2014

It's election season and time for SPUR's in-depth analysis of local San Francisco ballot measures. Don't want to wade through our 30-page voter guide? Check out this quick summary of all our recommendations. For those who do want to nerd out, don't worry — we've included links to our complete analysis.

Blog September 9, 2014

A recent article in the Atlantic argues that San Francisco’s new urban agriculture property tax incentive will only exacerbate the problem of limited housing supply in an already overheated housing market. We share the author's concern about housing affordability, but his critique of this policy, which SPUR worked to pass, misses the mark.

Blog August 27, 2014

Is the transportation always greener on the other side of the fence? Helsinki, Finland, recently announced a plan for a transit system that would make car ownership a thing of the past within the next 10 years. SPUR examines how the Bay Area could take inspiration from this integrated, single-payment, mobility-on-demand system.

Article August 25, 2014

SPUR's recent study trip to London revealed a number of transit innovations worthy of admiration: excellent wayfinding and walkability, iconic buses and successfully implemented congestion charging.

Article August 23, 2014

It’s a classic city planning debate: As London’s population continues to increase, should it increase density within the existing city or should new towns be built out in the countryside?

Blog August 7, 2014

How can we get past stagnant partisan arguments about climate change and begin looking at its impact on economic planning and investment? Kate Gordon of Next Generation presented this question at a SPUR lunchtime forum on the Risky Business Project, a nonpartisan effort to quantify and publicize the economic risks from climate change impacts.

Blog August 6, 2014

This November, Santa Clara County residents will vote on a tax measure that would significantly expand efforts to preserve and protect open space areas. This measure aligns with a number of SPUR’s goals. For Santa Clara County voters, we recommend a “yes” vote on the open space funding measure.

Blog August 6, 2014

No one in San Francisco is arguing about whether real estate is expensive. There is, however, some debate about how to characterize the astronomical prices. Now that median home values have returned to pre-recession highs, some are compelled to ask: Are we in another housing bubble? Real estate experts Jed Kolko and Tim Cornwell spoke to this question at a recent SPUR forum.

Blog August 5, 2014

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has passed California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. The final legislation included a few important amendments.

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