Sustainable Development

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


Article Tuesday, August 21, 2012 Channelized and diked for nearly its entire 51-mile length, the Los Angeles River has appeared in numerous Hollywood action scenes as a wide, dry concrete ditch not resembling a river at all. On our recent study trip to L.A., SPUR learned about long-term plans to restore the river as the centerpiece of a cross-town greenway that offers new open space, recreation and natural habitat in the dozens of communities along the river’s course.
Blog Thursday, August 2, 2012

San Francisco will soon have a new urban agriculture program. On July 17, the Board of Supervisors passed legislation — introduced by Supervisor David Chiu and co-sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Cohen, Mar and Olague — that sets clear goals and timelines for how the city government can better support urban farmers and gardeners.

Blog Monday, July 9, 2012

Update: On July 17, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the expansion proposal and new lease for the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market.

The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, the city’s hub for fresh produce, is looking to modernize and expand. And, this month, the SF Board of Supervisors will be considering a proposal to allow it to do just that.

Policy Letter Thursday, July 5, 2012 The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is a major piece of the region's food distribution infrastructure and San Francisco's food industry. Renewing the market's lease will support long-term economic development in the Bayview, generate new business and construction jobs and increase revenues for the city and will help ensure that San Francisco continues to have the facilities to support the vibrant food industry for which the city and region is so well known.
Blog Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some important improvements that SPUR recommended in the Ocean Beach Master Plan will happen right away, thanks to quick work by the San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Recreation and Park Commission. This winter DPW will construct a planted median in the center of the Great Highway from Lincoln Way to Balboa Street as part of a previously scheduled project to repave the roadway.


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