Sustainable Development

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


Policy Letter Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SPUR believes that urban agriculture provides multiple benefits to the city and commends the PUC for authorizing these pilot projects. In implementing them, the PUC should consider a wide variety of urban agricultural types and take the opportunity to use these sites to create model lease language and oversight mechanisms.

Blog Monday, December 5, 2011

Urban animal husbandry, though nothing new, is a cause for concern for many people – especially planners. Chickens, rabbits, bees and goats conjure up nightmares of odors, noises and animal cruelty. When Oakland’s planning department held a meeting to discuss changes to urban agriculture regulations, nearly 300 people showed. Like many other jurisdictions nationwide, the city is proceeding cautiously as it updates its animal regulations.

Article Thursday, December 1, 2011

Both San Francisco and Oakland passed legislation this year making it legal to grow and sell produce within city limits. Selling homegrown fruits and vegetables was previously illegal in both cities.

Blog Monday, November 28, 2011

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission took two steps in support of urban agriculture at a recent meeting. The first step was making it easier for community gardeners and urban farmers to install new water hookups at their sites. Currently, the price of a new water meter installation is approximately $8,500.

White Paper Tuesday, November 22, 2011

San Francisco is considering proposed legislation to change recreational uses at Sharp Park, a city-owned golf course and natural area located in Pacifica. The ordinance would end golfing at the site and restore it to more natural conditions. Activists eager to see a newly restored natural area and golfers eager to sustain and upgrade the course have debated the issues. SPUR weighs in with recommendations.


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