Sustainable Development

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


Blog Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just wanted to point your attention to the Bay Conservation Development Commission's upcoming design competition. The jury is seeking ideas inspired by "the common characteristics of estuaries" to prepare and adapt shoreline cities to the challenges of sea level rise. Entries will be displayed in the Ferry Building on July 14-19. Designers: still time to enter your proposal!

Blog Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Geographic recently featured a photo essay of green roofs around the world. Featured projects included the Academy of Sciences (of course!), but also a Civic Center bus shelter that SPUR's green roofs task force worked hard to design and build.

SPUR Report Friday, May 1, 2009

In the fight against global warming, there are many things San Francisco can do. In this report, SPUR evaluated 42 options for the city to reduce carbon emissions in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Blog Saturday, April 4, 2009

A new report by the Pacific Institute reveals that a 1.4 meter sea level rise will inundate thousands of acres in California and impact almost half a million people by 2100. Hardest hit will be low income people and communities of color, the Bay Area in general, and critical infrastructure like ports, railways, and water treatment facilities. Property damage alone could cost $100 billion.

Blog Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Harvard economist Ed Glaeser blogs in the New York Times about why skyscrapers are the greenist form of development - particularly in California's mild climate. In his post he makes that case that urban living and working - often in high rises - is the greenest development form.


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--iis 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