Sustainable Development

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


Article Thursday, January 1, 2004 The story of this small battle informs how we think about working toward institutional change, and along the way, what it takes to move away from fossil fuels.
Article Thursday, January 1, 2004 The plan to replace Doyle Drive with a new parkway that will pass underground at key locations presents an opportunity to reconnect the heart of the Presidio to Crissy Field and the Bay.
Article Friday, August 1, 2003 In 2001, California experienced an energy “perfect storm." This article explains what happened, the proposed PG&E settlement, and policy lessons we can learn from the disaster.
Article Friday, August 1, 2003 This article reviews the San Francisco Public Utility Commission's analysis of problems and opportunities with various potential sites for the City’s newly won power plants.
Article Friday, August 1, 2003 San Francisco's long-term economic and environmental well-being is vulnerable to an aging electric power infrastructure. This paper presents options for electrical generation and upgrading the regional transmission system.


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