Crossing Borders: Oakland and San Francisco

SPUR, Ideas and Actions for a Better City

San Francisco 6:00 p.m. | Monday, May 4, 2015

Though physically separated by the San Francisco Bay, Oakland and San Francisco are inextricably linked through their economies, housing markets and the hundreds of thousands of people who cross the bay each day. Come hear both cities’ planning directors in a conversation on some of the topics that link (or divide) them.

+ Rachel Flynn / Oakland Department of Planning and Building
John Rahaim / San Francisco Planning Department

Can’t make it in person? Check out the Live@SPUR webcast of this event.

SPUR Urban Center

654 Mission Street

94105-4015 San Francisco, CA

Walking New York City – Urban Art at its Best

The French artist JR describes this Manhattan based project:

“Last month the New York Times Magazine reached out to me to think about a project together… I told them I have been working for a year on Immigration and I would love to continue what I started on Ellis Island in the city.  So, we started looking for people who arrived less than a year ago.  We chose 15 coming from all over the world. I photographed them walking in the city … all of them completely unknown… living in the shadows of the city and learning English slowly.  We pasted Elmar, 20 years old who came from Azerbaijan, on the floor of Flat Iron Plaza in New York City.  The image was 150 feet high.  People walked on him all day and no one really noticed him… Today he is on the cover of the NYtimes magazine… while everyone else is in the shadow.”

Read more at the NYTimes.


A Seedling Grows in Pittsburgh

A Seedling Grows in Pittsburgh

Reclaiming abandoned homes that leave behind empty lots, for the creation of fresh veggies and fruits is a growing trend in urban centers nationwide.  Further, this trend is comprised of hopeful urban farmers, who want to revitalize their communities.

This is the story of Mindy Schwartz.  She lives in Wilkinsburg, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh and she works hard to product amazing seedling plants and serve her community.

How did her story begin?  In 1994, she moved into a 3-unit apartment house and built raised gardens to grow produce.  She was so successful that she grew more than she could ever eat.  At first, she gave them away to friends, and then she began charging for them, finally she began selling to local restaurants.  “Next thing you know, I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of seedlings,” she said.

Mindy turned her passion into a business, paving the way for the once abandoned to become fully alive.

Read more from our friends at the Post-Gazette.


Italian Piazzas Perform

On a typical midday afternoon in springtime, this is a scene seen across the country – casual and spontaneous public life.

What is the secret to Italian piazzas?

Our friends at NextCity, attempt to share this secret in an in-depth article that examines how urban planners look to Italian piazzas in order to learn and replicate the success of attracting people to spend time out of their homes, in a communal way.

Hint – it is not just the beautiful architecture that does the trick.  Learn more here


Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks



Elevating City Life