Oakland Needs More — Here’s How to Get It

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At a recent neighborhood design session for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan, an Uptown Oakland resident was asked what she thought her neighborhood needed out of the plan. “More, more of everything,” was her answer. More housing, more places to shop, more parks, more and better transit, and on and on. 
That need for more, and the inability to deliver it, has been a defining characteristic of the last few decades in Oakland, especially when comparing the city to its rich neighbor across the Bay. Oakland is now in a moment when that can change — but it will require some deliberate and farsighted action to grow the city’s job and tax revenue bases. The outcome is by no means guaranteed, but it can happen. This week on the SPUR blog, we make the case for how to get Oakland the resources it needs.
Robert Ogilvie
Oakland Director, SPUR
Oakland Needs More — Here’s How to Get It
Oaklanders have been willing to tax themselves heavily over the years, but it’s never enough to provide an adequate level of services. The need for more, and the inability to deliver it, has been a defining characteristic of the city for the last few decades. How can Oakland change this? By growing its job and tax revenue bases.
Read more on the SPUR blog >>
Bay Area Transportation Measure Will Go to Voters in June
In January, the Bay Area Toll Authority voted to place Regional Measure 3 on the June 2018 ballot. The measure would raise $4.45 billion for significant transportation projects throughout the Bay Area, plus $60 million annually for transit operating support. Funding would be generated by a $3 toll increase on all Bay Area bridges, with the exception of the Golden Gate. The spending plan includes both transit and road projects, including new BART and Muni railcars, a BART extension to downtown San Jose, a Caltrain extension to the new Transbay Terminal, expansion of the San Francisco Bay ferry system and express buses and bus rapid transit in the East Bay. Funding from the proposed measure was assumed in Plan Bay Area, the region’s long-range transportation plan. SPUR is co-chairing the campaign committee along with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council and has been very involved in developing the measure.
Read more from the SF Chronicle >>
Affordable Housing in Expensive Cities
Many economically successful cities have a seemingly permanent crisis of affordable housing. Policymakers in these cities expend great amounts of energy trying to bring down housing costs with subsidies and rent control. But these efforts are undermined by planning decisions that make housing for most people vastly more expensive than it has to be by restricting the supply of new units, even in the face of growing demand. In an article for the Journal of Economic Perspectives, SPUR President Gabriel Metcalf explores these issues and proposes some more effective approaches to housing policy.
Read more from the Journal of Economic Perspectives >>
Reading the City
SPUR recently put out the call to planners, architects, designers, developers, professors, technologists and others with a simple question: What’s your favorite book about cities? Of course we got a lot of Jane Jacobs. But we also heard about a London epidemic, modernism in Barcelona, Hanya Yanagihara and a history of Bourbon Street. We invite you to peruse this list and read to your heart’s content. We’d love to hear what your favorite book on cities is, too. Let us know at editor@spur.org.
Read more from The Urbanist >>
6:00 p.m. | Tuesday, February 20, 2018
12:30 p.m. | Wednesday, February 21, 2018
6:00 p.m. | Thursday, February 22, 2018
City Leadership
Stanford study: Oakland police have dramatically reduced stops of black people.
East Bay Express >>
Mayor Libby Schaaf takes a stand against the federal government’s threats to target sanctuary cities.
CBS >>
Parcel tax to fund Oakland public libraries goes to ballot in June.
SF Chronicle >>
Oakland city employees union votes to ratify agreement.
SF Business Times >>
Oakland officer voiced concerns about Ghost Ship.
San Francisco Chronicle >> 
Development News
EBALDC and the Unity Council break ground on housing next to Fruitvale BART, Oakland's largest affordable project in four years.
SF Business Times >>
A new contender for Oakland's tallest new building: 1750 Broadway.
SF Business Times >>
Pandora cuts staff in Oakland, will expand in Atlanta.
SF Business Times >>
New developer oWow aiming to build for the “missing middle” through smart design.
SF Business Times >>
Oakland’s largest landlord? The mystery company that bought Uber’s Uptown Station.
SF Business Times >>
As crime goes down, Oakland booms — but will homelessness undo all of that?
BisNow >>
Retail downturn and asbestos discovery threaten Rockridge redevelopment project.
Mercury News >>
New report: Most California cities are failing to build enough housing.
East Bay Times >>
State lawmakers want to restore redevelopment in next gubernatorial administration — but it will be complicated.
Los Angeles Times >>
Concord steps up to housing crisis, will invest millions in affordable housing.
East Bay Times >>
Economy and Equity
Our housing crisis is self-inflicted — but there are things we can do to fix it.
East Bay Express >>
State appeals court upholds Oakland landlord’s 125 percent rent increase.
East Bay Express >>
$40 million facility for homeless planned in Alameda.
East Bay Times >>
Proposed roll back of Community Reinvestment Act will hit places like Fruitvale hard.
Awesome Stuff
Celebrate Oakland’s first Black Joy Parade on February 25.
Event details >>
Art’s Crab Shack gets a new life as Copper Spoon Cocktails and Kitchen.
East Bay Times >>
East Bay breweries get more options for sourcing local ingredients.
East Bay Express >>
The romance of Venice — in Oakland: This Valentine’s Day, take a gondola.
An East Bay business mogul is out to rebuild a Bay Area beer icon.
East Bay Express >>