Sustainable Development

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


Blog Thursday, August 7, 2014

How can we get past stagnant partisan arguments about climate change and begin looking at its impact on economic planning and investment? Kate Gordon of Next Generation presented this question at a SPUR lunchtime forum on the Risky Business Project, a nonpartisan effort to quantify and publicize the economic risks from climate change impacts.

Policy Letter Thursday, August 7, 2014

SPUR supports the implementation of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan, which would provide a regulatory framework and create a habitat conservation plan to contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the Delta.

Blog Tuesday, August 5, 2014

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has passed California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. The final legislation included a few important amendments.

White Paper Thursday, July 24, 2014

We measure greenhouse gas emissions to determine our impacts on the climate, but we know much less about how to measure our ability to respond to the climate’s impacts on us. SPUR and the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee brought regional leaders together to discuss best practices in developing and monitoring resilience through ongoing measurement of key indicators.

Policy Letter Friday, July 18, 2014

Access to land is one of the most significant obstacles to the expansion of urban agriculture in the city. This ordinance will address this obstacle by allowing property owners to receive a property tax reduction in exchange for committing their land to urban agricultural use for at least five years.


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--is 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