San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association
SPUR, formerly known as San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, is a non-profit research, education, and advocacy organization focused on issues of planning and governance. SPUR's history dates back to 1910, when a group of young city leaders came together to improve the quality of housing after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. That group, the San Francisco Housing Association, authored a hard-hitting report which led to the State Tenement House Act of 1911.
In the 1930s, SFHA continued to advocate for housing concerns. In the 1940s, SFHA merged with Telesis, a group of graduates from UC Berkeley's city planning program, to become the San Francisco Planning and Housing Association in 1942. In the same year, the Association landed another major success with the creation of San Francisco's Department of City Planning.
In the 1950s, SFPHA pushed for the revitalization of San Francisco as the Bay Area's central city, in an effort to curb suburban sprawl and channel growth back into the urban core. In 1959, the San Francisco Planning and Housing Association was reorganized into the San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association and later, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association; since then, the organization has grown to over 4,000 members and has diversified its focus, analyzing subjects from sea-level rise and renewable energy to bicycle lanes and the ties between the Beat movement and the cultural understanding of urbanism. SPUR also provides annual analysis and selective endorsement of city and state ballot measures.
In June 2009, SPUR moved into new headquarters at 654 Mission Street. This new location houses SPUR's staff of 18, as well as three floors devoted to public outreach: a gallery, a research library, and a meeting room for SPUR's almost daily hosted talks.
In January 2012, SPUR began a three year pilot-project in San Jose. SPUR not only expects this expansion to become permanent, but also hopes to open an office Oakland as well. SPUR's board and staff have developed this strategic plan based on the following assumptions:
- San Francisco's share of jobs and population is declining, most of the growth in the Bay Area is occurring in other areas.
- Most regional decisions are made by local governments.
- SPUR's core competency is urban planning.
- San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco combined represent 30 percent of the region's population and 34 percent of the region's jobs.