Sustainable Development

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


Blog Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NRDC has just released a guide to SB 375, the nation's first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with global warming.  The goal of this legislation is to foster development patterns that reduce the need to drive. Household transportation is the single largest and fastest-growing source of global warming pollution in California.

Blog Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our friends at the Sightline Institute in Cascadia have put together a primer on the federal climate bill, aka the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), aka Waxman-Markey, that passed the U.S.

Blog Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Policy Letter Thursday, May 28, 2009 SPUR’s most recent policy paper, “Critical Cooling,” found that a mandatory recycling rule is one of the most significant policies the city can enact to reduce emissions, reducing more than 186,000 tons per year if we increase diversion just 5 percent. The reason that a small increase in recycling and composting makes such a huge difference in terms of global warming emissions is that food scraps emit a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 when put into a landfill. Those emissions are avoided if food scraps are broken down using typical composting processes. This can all be accomplished with no additional impact on the city budget. We strongly urge the Board of Supervisors to pass this well-vetted and readily implementable piece of legislation.
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!


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