Issue 7 of the San Francisco Public Press, a broadsheet full-color local newspaper, is now available  for just $1 at more than 50 retail outlets and through online mail order ($4).

SPECIAL REPORT  »  Growing Smarter: Planning for a Bay Area of 9 Million. Regional planners hope to turn a lot of the Bay Area into something more like San Francisco — walkable, BARTable and energy efficient. But the “smart growth” renaissance is facing stiff resistance from cities, and financial pressure from the cash-strapped California state government. Produced in collaboration with the CAGE Lab at UC Berkeley’s Geography Department, Earth Island Journal and Bay Nature Magazine.

Back issues are also available for mail order. Read select stories from previous issues: Issue 6 • Issue 5 • Issue 4 • Issue 3 • Issue 2 • Issue 1

Summer 2012

Immigrants, a foster kid and a displaced worker rise to leadership at City College

Ruth Tam, SF Public Press — Aug 13 2012 - 3:04pm

After a harsh accreditation review detailing financial and administrative failures last month, City College of San Francisco has been given a year to prove itself worthy of accreditation or face the risk of closure. In the struggle to keep the school’s doors open, the possible loss of accreditation would affect more than 120,000 City College students, faculty and staff. Here, in their own words, are some of their stories.

Community college chancellor's advice for City College met with lukewarm reception

Ruth Tam, SF Public Press — Aug 9 2012 - 12:18pm

The chancellor of the California community college system came to town to offer some advice on tackling City College of San Francisco’s problems, but found few takers for his counsel.

Faces of City College

Ruth Tam, SF Public Press — Jul 19 2012 - 11:13am

After a harsh accreditation review detailing financial and administrative failures, City College of San Francisco has been given a year to prove itself worthy of accreditation or face the risk of closure. Though the school's community has promised to fight the criticisms with change, it could be an uphill battle for all those involved. In the struggle to keep the school’s doors open, it’s been frequently reported that the possible loss of accreditation would affect over 120,000 City College students, faculty and staff.  Here, in their own words, are some of their stories.

Visualizing smart growth through photo art

Steve Price, SF Public Press — Jul 9 2012 - 11:47am

People need realistic pictures to understand development options. Using photo-editing and 3-D modeling software, we create seamless photo simulations that realistically show how revitalized urban and suburban places might look.

Rising gas prices exacerbated foreclosure crisis, researchers find

Dhyana Levey, SF Public Press — Jul 3 2012 - 12:32pm

Spiking gas prices in recent years were likely a contributing factor to foreclosures in newly built outlying housing developments in the Bay Area, researchers say, suggesting that sprawl may be bad for the region’s economic stability. Two recent studies found links between gas prices and foreclosure rates across California and other parts of the nation. The highest concentrations of Bay Area foreclosures were in eastern Contra Costa and parts of Solano and Sonoma counties. The areas with the lowest foreclosure rates were in the urban corridors of Oakland, San Francisco and parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties — areas most accessible by public transit.

Map: The bay’s 50-year boom — population growth, 1960-2010

Darin Jensen, Madeleine Theriault and Mike Jones, SF Public Press — Jun 29 2012 - 11:21am

Among 101 cities, those in periphery grew fastest

Like trees, cities can be thought of as adding growth rings every year. For most cities on this map, the outer ring represents the current population, from 2010 census data. The smallest, inner growth ring was the population in 1960. The largest cities of 1960 — San Francisco and Oakland - have larger inner rings. San Jose is a notable outlier, having swelled to consume the Valley of Heart's Delight. The spacing of the decennial rings allows the reader to understand whether cities' population growth is sudden, like Concord between 1960 and 1970, or gradual, like Pleasanton, denoted by the regular interval between the growth rings. Slow-growing Moraga doesn't show a 1960 ring at all, because it is covered up by the 2010 growth ring.

Muni to try quicker boarding scheme in latest effort to meet elusive performance goals

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jun 28 2012 - 11:28am

Clipper Card readers placed in the back of Muni buses long ago will finally get more use starting July 1.Transit officials are gearing up for all-door boarding throughout this system, which will reduce travel times, speed up loading on Muni buses and generate more fare revenue, said Muni spokesman Paul Rose. Muni will become the first bus and light-rail system in the country to have all-door boarding for its entire system.

Ever-changing population predictions frustrate Bay Area smart-growth planning

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 25 2012 - 12:38pm

State and regional planning agencies have produced differing predictions of how many people will migrate to the Bay Area in coming decades. The disagreement is frustrating efforts to forge a consensus on how many hundreds of thousands of new homes to build across the region, and where. In May, the California Department of Finance took a fresh look at economic forecasts and officially backed away from its prediction that 9.5 million people would live in the Bay Area in 2040. The state now says it is likely to be closer to 8.4 million. But the Association of Bay Area Governments pegged the population for the same 2040 target date at a robust 9.3 million. The agency is charged with developing Plan Bay Area, an ambitious agenda to reshape the sprawling region by building 660,000 new homes in the urban image of walkable, transit-friendly San Francisco.

Map: Where we live now — 2010 household density and priority development areas

Darin Jensen, Madeleine Theriault and Mike Jones, SF Public Press — Jun 22 2012 - 12:34pm

Part of the challenge facing regional planners, who wrote the 30-year Plan Bay Area, is that it is hard to predict future population growth. The current list of more than 200 potential priority development areas in the plan tracks established high-density zones closely, indicating that the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and other regional agencies want to fill in developments in areas that are already highly urbanized or near mass transit lines, instead of in undeveloped or underdeveloped suburban settings. This map helps readers of the Public Press’s summer edition special project, Growing Smarter: Planning for a Bay Area of 9 Million, understand these trends.

Tea partiers and Occupiers make strange bedfellows opposing sprawl control

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 21 2012 - 1:22pm

So far, Plan Bay Area — an ambitious regional blueprint for dense urban communities convenient for walking and public transit — seems to have more strident critics than defenders. Some libertarians, liberal Democrats, environmentalists, professional urban planners and anti-capitalist Occupiers have all found issue with parts of the plan, and the way its authors have sought public opinion.

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