Northern News

APA CA logo

A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Free SPUR events for April and May


SPUR believes “education empowers people to take an active role in creating a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous region.” So SPUR has made “the majority of its programming free to the public.” Here is their calendar for the balance of April 2022, plus May.


A Culmination of the Presidio Parkway [In-Person Program]

Monday, April 25. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

This spring, the Presidio will open Battery Bluff, six acres of beautiful new open space created atop one set of Presidio Parkway tunnels through the national park site. Combined with the upcoming Presidio Tunnel Tops, a total of 36-acres of new public parkland will be added to the Presidio, and the Bayshore will be reconnected to the historic heart of the park for the first time in eight decades. This moment marks the culmination of a three-decade government and community effort, championed by SPUR and numerous government agencies, to replace the seismically unsafe Doyle Drive with a new roadway, designed by the late Michael Painter, that would fit seamlessly into the park landscape. Join key actors in the design and construction process to hear this remarkable story of how government and community collaboration led to a world-class open space. Attendees will receive a new book commemorating the Presidio Parkway development, Parkway for the People, by Kristina Woolsey.


X Marks the Spot: Touring Treasure Island

Wednesday, April 27. Tour 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Treasure Island is undergoing monumental change. 8,000 new homes planned for the island will be supported by 300 acres of parks and 22 miles of trails, accounting for the largest expansion of public space in San Francisco since the creation of Golden Gate Park. Grand in scope, the ambitious plan is truly worthy of the Golden Gate International Exposition, which was held on the island more than eighty years ago. With the first phase of the project under construction and a completed ferry terminal now shuttling passengers to downtown San Francisco in only 10 minutes, join us for an up-close look at the city’s new efforts to create a sustainable community from the ground up.


Touring the Presidio’s Battery Bluff

Thursday, April 28. Tour 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Though the Presidio Parkway, the replacement for the seismically unsafe Doyle Drive, opened in 2015, the project was far from over. In the years since, work has been underway to take advantage of the roadways’ improved design to restore wetlands and create new open spaces for visitors on and around the tunnels through the national park site. The historic heart of the Presidio will now be reconnected to the park’s northern waterfront for the first time since 1937. One restoration site will open this spring. Battery Bluff, a six-acre open space, promises sweeping views of the Golden Gate, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. The landscape includes picnic tables, restored historic gun batteries, and a new multi-use segment of the Presidio Promenade trail to the Golden Gate Bridge. Come for a behind-the-scenes tour of Battery Bluff and see parts of the Presidio that have been off-limits to the public for 80 years. In partnership with the Presidio Trust.


Protect, Accommodate, Retreat: Adaptation Strategies in the Face of Sea Level Rise

Wednesday, May 4. Lunchtime Forum 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.

There is widespread agreement that the Bay Area needs to invest in both protection and accommodation to allow communities to coexist with the inevitability of sea-level rise. But managed retreat, itself, is bitterly contested. The history of the government taking land for the “public good” is synonymous with some of the greatest injustices in the United States, of which the displacement of Native Americans from their ancestral lands and the razing of non-white communities to build freeways and railroads are just two appalling examples. Managed retreat chips away at the communities that people love while reopening these old wounds. However, its alternative — allowing climate disasters to force when and how people move — is no better. And as climate change continues to impact the Bay Area, many neighborhoods will be at greater risk of regular flooding, even with protection and accommodation strategies in place. Take part in a difficult conversation about when, if ever, is the right time to talk about retreat.


What Are the Secrets to Emeryville’s Success?

Tuesday, May 10. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The city of Emeryville is different than many other Bay Area cities. Its commitment to housing, bike infrastructure, building decarbonization, and more have proven to be a model opportunity for other cities to learn from. One key way in which it has stood apart from much of the rest of the region is through its exemplary efforts to build affordable housing. The city is currently on track to exceed its regional housing development goals and is seeking to qualify as a “pro-housing city” through a new California Department of Housing and Community Development incentivization program that funds prioritization and other benefits. Join us for a conversation with Emeryville’s mayor, John J. Bauters, to discuss how his city has accomplished what others have yet to achieve.


Building ADUs in Oakland: The Keys to Equity Program

Wednesday, May 11. Evening Forum 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

For more than 40 years, the Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services (RNHS) has worked tirelessly to undo the harmful effects of racist housing policies that result in redlining, disinvestment, blight and systemic segregation across the East Bay. Its new Keys to Equity Program, created in collaboration with Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the WellNest Company, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the City of Oakland, and the San Francisco Foundation, works directly with Oakland homeowners who are looking to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their property. Through one-on-one guidance, the program provides the fundamental design, permitting, construction, and financing services that often serve as hurdles to building an ADU. Come learn how this important program aims to reverse decades of discriminatory housing practices while alleviating the housing crisis in the East Bay.


Exploring Oakland’s District 2

Friday, May 13. Tour 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Comprising the neighborhoods of Grand Lake, Chinatown, Trestle Glen, Highland Park, and more, Oakland District 2 is a vibrant core of the city filled with cultural institutions, active commercial streets, and tight-knit communities. Join us as we explore the district with its councilmember and the president of the Oakland City Council, Nikki Fortunato Bas, to hear about her favorite gems and how she works to represent her constituents.


Office to Housing Conversion: San Francisco

Tuesday, May 17. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, broad swaths of San Francisco’s Financial District and South of Market neighborhoods have been all but abandoned by companies who have transitioned to either a hybrid or fully-remote model of working. This exodus of major employers means that many of the city’s tallest buildings sit underused, or even empty, while Bay Area residents continue to endure an oppressive housing crisis and many of our neighbors remain unhoused. The widespread office vacancies, brought on by the unprecedented events of the last two years, present a unique opportunity for developers and city leaders — not just in San Francisco, but also across the United States. Join us for an in-depth discussion about the chance, and feasibility of, converting unused office space into desperately needed homes.



Planning More Illuminated Cities

Wednesday, May 31. Special Program 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Is your night experience in cities poetic or fearful? Though architects and planners design the world around us primarily for daytime hours, half of our lives are spent in the dark. Some individuals, such as culture lovers and clubbers, choose to go out at night, while others, like shift workers, must do so as part of their jobs. And let’s not forget the wintertime, when most of us experience cities after the sun sets early. However, regardless of the reasons that we traverse cities at night, well-designed illumination is vital to accessing our cities during these darkened hours. It connects us to fresh air and social interactions while boosting local economies and augmenting safety and a sense of welcome. Join noted lighting urbanist Leni Schwendinger as she leads a panel of international lighting and urban design leaders to explore the perceptions, realities, and creative possibilities of the city at night.

Return to Northern News here.


Scroll to Top