Sustainable Development

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


Policy Letter Wednesday, January 16, 2008 The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s proposed contract with J-Power to operate “peaker” combustion turbine power plants in southeast San Francisco is a harmful and short-sighted solution to local energy production and reliability. Peakers are expensive and polluting, and the southeast neighborhoods have long borne the brunt of the city’s environmental health hazards. San Francisco can meet reliability goals through new cable projects, energy efficiency and demand management. We urge the Board of Supervisors to reject peakers and the contract.
SPUR Report Tuesday, November 7, 2006 Instead of wasting stormwater, the City could manage it as a resource. SPUR explores four strategies that allow for greater stormwater storage and infiltration of rainwater into the ground.
Article Thursday, January 1, 2004

imageBrian O'Neill is Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), one of the largest urban national parks in the world, with over 75,000 acres of land and 28 miles of coastline. The park itself is over twice as large as San Francisco.

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.


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