Sustainable Development

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


Article Friday, August 1, 2003 San Francisco's long-term economic and environmental well-being is vulnerable to an aging electric power infrastructure. This paper presents options for electrical generation and upgrading the regional transmission system.
Article Friday, August 1, 2003 Energy policy in San Francisco must also minimize health impacts to residents, while not simply moving production out of the city to impact others.
Article Saturday, March 1, 2003 In spite of its progressive nature, California faces greater challenges in achieving smart growth than many other states. This article explores why, and what a new network of good planning organizations can do about it.
Article Saturday, September 1, 2001 The ways that people learn from and respond to the urban environment are critical to the prospects for sustainability. Ecologically designed urban landscapes must communicate cultural 'cues' for sustainable behavior.
Article Friday, June 1, 2001 Ecological parks are different from conventional, picturesque parks. They are places nature has reclaimed, they’re part of the urban whole, and they minimize resource use and waste outputs. At their best, they inspire a connection to the land.


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