Sustainable Development

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


Blog Monday, May 9, 2011

On May 4 SPUR released a major report, "Climate Change Hits Home," that lays out what the Bay Area must do to start preparing for the coming effects of climate change. This project, a multi-year effort by a team of top climate scientists and government leaders, represents a turning point for SPUR.

SPUR Report Monday, May 2, 2011

Global efforts to slow climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. As a result we must not only intensify our efforts to reduce climate change but start preparing for its inevitable effects. In this report, SPUR recommends more than 30 strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects.

Article Tuesday, April 19, 2011 How will San Francisco manage Ocean Beach's tricky balance of natural resources, recreational uses and infrastructure needs under the new realities of a changing climate? SPUR leads a master-planning process to develop a long-term vision for this important resource.
Blog Friday, March 11, 2011

The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission released their Initial Vision Scenario for growth in the Bay Area at a meeting in Oakland today. By 2035, the scenario assumes the Bay Area will grow by 2 million people (to 9.4 million) and 1.2 million jobs (to 4.5 million).

SPUR Report Tuesday, February 1, 2011 New green construction codes are important, but in a built-out city like San Francisco, retrofitting our existing built environment is key to creating a truly sustainable city. Multifamily apartment buildings account for more than two-thirds of the city’s housing units and represent an important target for reducing our use of water, energy and materials. The challenges to widespread green upgrades are many: low awareness, lack of capital and a confusing, ever-changing slate of incentive programs. SPUR’s study Greening Apartment Buildings recommends creating a web-based tool that will educate property owners and increase awareness of the many free incentive and rebate programs currently available in San Francisco. In addition to our report, we provide a complete listing of green rebate programs and related tools for apartment owners and tenants.


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