Sustainable Development

Our goal: Reduce our ecological footprint and prepare for climate change.


Sand placement by the PUC acting as buffer to coastal erosion.
Blog Monday, January 26, 2015

December’s drenching rain and big swells were the biggest thing to hit Ocean Beach for years. Fortunately, sand placement was already in process, providing a ‘sacrificial’ (i.e. temporary) buffer in the locations most vulnerable to erosion. This will be an important design factor in the managed retreat process.

Blog Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In his fourth inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown gave climate hawks cause to celebrate the new year by proposing an ambitious energy policy agenda that will keep California at the forefront of fighting global warming for more than a decade. Brown called for 50 percent of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Coastal View
Blog Monday, January 12, 2015

The San Francisco Planning Department recently secured $173,850 from the California Coastal Commission and the Ocean Protection Council to amend our Local Coastal Program to incorporate climate change and sea-level rise. The Planning Department will lead the Local Coastal Program amendment effort and, working closely with stakeholders, capitalize on the collaborative foundation built through the multi-stakeholder Ocean Beach Master Plan process.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Mayor Ed Lee visit Ocean Beach on December 18th to witness the impacts of rising seas on the San Francisco coastline.
Blog Monday, January 5, 2015

The proactive adaptation measures for Ocean Beach – including managed retreat, coastal protection, and environmental restoration -- have garnered the attention of the Obama administration, most recently through visits from Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, Mayor Ed Lee, and Mike Boots, acting chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Blog Monday, December 29, 2014

The City of Oakland recently made it easier for urban farmers and gardeners to start new projects. On November 18, the City Council unanimously approved changes to the city planning code that clarifies what types of urban agriculture are allowed in each part of the city and expanded the areas where residents can cultivate crops and produce honey. 


Our priorities for Sustainable Development


Our water and wastewater systems are aging and in need of repair and reinvestment. Reliability of these lifelines is essential to the future of the City's environment and economy. We can rebuild them in a way that more sustainably manages resources than we have in the past.


San Francisco has many options to achieve greenhouse gas reductions from major emissions sources: energy, waste, land use and transportation. The City has set an aggressive target for reductions, and a cost-effective approach will help us reach it most efficiently.


The concept of waste is not a sustainable one. To the extent possible, we should maximize the use of resources and prevent them from becoming wastes. This means diverting waste from landfills, composting organics, and putting rainwater to use instead of letting it flow into the sewer system.


San Francisco now has some of the greenest codes for new construction in the country. To reduce our carbon footprint and meet our climate change goals, we need to retrofit existing buildings to conserve resources. Conveniently, energy efficiency--and renewable energy over the long term--iis usually a cost-saving investment for building owners. People just need to know what to do and how to do it.

Sustainable Development Updates

To get regular updates on sustainable development activities contact SPUR Sustainable Development Policy Director Laura Tam at