Sustainable Development

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


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.

Blog Monday, July 7, 2014

San Francisco is once again poised to be a pioneer in urban agriculture policy. In June, Supervisor David Chiu introduced an ordinance that create California's first urban agriculture incentive zone and allow property owners who contract their land into urban agricultural use for at least five years to receive a property tax reduction

Article Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Marin Carbon Project has demonstrated that applying compost to rangeland has clear environmental benefits. Could this be an effective strategy in helping combat climate change?

Article Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Alarming health statistics led community groups and city agencies to work together to improve nutrition and a healthier food retail environment in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Their model for corner store conversions shows promise as a community-driven strategy to improve access to healthy food.


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