Sustainable Development

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


Policy Letter Monday, July 8, 2013

One of the biggest obstacles to expanding the number of Californians who enjoy the benefits of urban agriculture is access to land. SPUR strongly encourages state legislators to support Assembly Bill 551, an "opt-in" measure which would allow counties to create "urban agriculture incentive zones," offering a conservative approach to nurturing emergent urban agriculture projects across the state. 

SPUR Report Monday, May 13, 2013

The Bay Area’s food system supports our greenbelt, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and helps reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. SPUR's latest report recommends a series of policies to help us more effectively capture the benefits of our regional food system.

Policy Letter Monday, May 6, 2013 By removing existing barriers to small-scale fresh food retail operations, proposed amendments to San Jose's Title 20 ordinance would help the city move one step closer to its 2040 General Plan goal of increasing access to healthful food for all residents. SPUR supports these amendments as a modest, balanced approach to improving fresh food options throughout the city.
SPUR Report Monday, March 18, 2013

More than two-thirds of the Bay Area’s water is imported from outside the region. Today these supplies are regularly threatened by drought, earthquakes and water quality impairments — risks that will intensify with climate change. Meanwhile, our region will add 2 million more people by 2040 — growth that will require more water. Do we have the water we need to support this projected growth?

Blog Monday, November 19, 2012

Southern Santa Clara County used to have a widespread and thriving agricultural sector, helping the area earn the name “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.”  Today, much of that famed farmland has been replaced with homes and offices.


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