Sustainable Development

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


Policy Letter Monday, December 2, 2013

The Planning Division of the City of San Jose recently proposed amending the city’s zoning code to allow for small-scale urban agriculture in commercial zones of the city. SPUR supports this modest change, which will allow urban agriculture projects less than one acre in size. 

SPUR 2012-2013 Annual Report
SPUR Report Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The majority of the world’s population now resides in cities. This presents great challenges — and great opportunities for making a better world. Our annual report explores the potential of cities to solve the problems of our time. We invite you to learn more about the work we did this year in support of this vision.

Blog Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One of the biggest challenges urban farmers face is access to land. Signed into law on September 28, the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act — introduced by Assembly Member Phil Ting and supported by more than 25 organizations across the state — will increase the use of privately owned, vacant land for urban agriculture and improve land security for urban ag projects.

Policy Letter Monday, July 8, 2013

One of the biggest obstacles to expanding the number of Californians who enjoy the benefits of urban agriculture is access to land. SPUR strongly encourages state legislators to support Assembly Bill 551, an "opt-in" measure which would allow counties to create "urban agriculture incentive zones," offering a conservative approach to nurturing emergent urban agriculture projects across the state. 

SPUR Report Monday, May 13, 2013

The Bay Area’s food system supports our greenbelt, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and helps reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. SPUR's latest report recommends a series of policies to help us more effectively capture the benefits of our regional food 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