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. 

Policy Letter Friday, July 5, 2013 The first year of the new urban agriculture program provides a unique chance to truly expand the city’s internal coordination and general support for urban gardeners and farmers. During recent public meetings, the department expressed interest in receiving recommendations from community organizations regarding how the new program should prioritize its efforts. With this in mind, SPUR offers six recommendations for how the program can be most successful from its inception.
Policy Letter Friday, July 5, 2013

SPUR supports the resolution that would create a new program dedicated to urban agriculture within the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD). The RPD has land, resources and staff that can support the new program in a way unavailable to other departments and understands that the mission of this new program is to coordinate with other agencies and community groups, rather than replace them.

Blog Tuesday, July 2, 2013

While many parts of San Francisco are full of fresh food retailers, other neighborhoods lack greengrocers of any size.  According to the SF Health Department, some areas of the city — including Treasure Island, the Tenderloin, Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley, among others — have limited to no fresh food retail options.

Blog Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before we paved the streets of San Francisco, little creeks and wetlands were abundant. Today, as in most cities, these natural water features have been replaced by a sewer network that effectively throws away rainwater instead of finding ways to reuse it. But a new 20-year, $6 billion capital program could be the start of a new approach to stormwater management.


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