Orange skyline of San Francisco during extreme fires of 2020

Sustainability and Resilience

We believe: The region should be environmentally just, carbon-neutral,
and resilient to climate change and earthquakes.

Our Goals

• Decarbonize buildings.

• Make the region resilient to sea level rise and other climate-driven natural disasters.

• Improve communities’ resilience to earthquakes.

computer rendering of a concrete creek channel that has been converted to public space, with a bike path, trees and people sitting on concrete steps in the creek bed,

SPUR Report

Watershed Moments

Climate scientists predict that California will experience longer, more frequent droughts as the climate warms. How can the Bay Area better manage the limited water it has? SPUR, Greenbelt Alliance and Pacific Institute teamed up to highlight six Northern California leaders who are pioneering more sustainable approaches to water use.
City streets and buildings next to waterfront. Wooden poles stick up from the water.

SPUR Report

Water for a Growing Bay Area

The Bay Area is projected to add 2 million jobs and as many as 6.8 million people in the next 50 years. But can we add more jobs and build more housing without using more water? New research from SPUR and the Pacific Institute says yes.

SPUR Report

Safety First: Improving Hazard Resilience in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is both a treasured place and a hazardous environment where flooding, wildfires and earthquakes are common today. As a region exposed to multiple hazards, how can we manage for all of them at the same time?

Ongoing Initiative

The Resilient City

We know that another major earthquake will strike San Francisco — we just don’t know when. Since 2008, SPUR has led a comprehensive effort to retrofit the buildings and infrastructure that sustain city life. Our Resilient City Initiative recommends steps the city should take before, during and after the next big quake.

Black and white photo of a sink faucet running water


Lessons Learned From California’s COVID-19 Water Debt Relief Program

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature established the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program to provide financial relief for unpaid water bills. But water affordability struggles won’t end with the pandemic. The state will need to build upon its first experiment with water bill assistance to weather ongoing climate change and income inequality. SPUR investigates the success of the $985 million program and looks at lessons learned.

Ongoing Initiative

Ocean Beach Master Plan

Ocean Beach, one of San Francisco’s most treasured landscapes, faces significant challenges. Since 2010, SPUR has led an extensive interagency and public process to develop the Ocean Beach Master Plan, a comprehensive vision to address sea level rise, protect infrastructure, restore coastal ecosystems and improve public access.

Updates and Events

Letter to the Mayor from SF Climate Emergency Coalition

Advocacy Letter
SPUR added it's support to a letter to Mayor Breed organized by SF Climate Emergency Coalition to defend funding for key staff positions at San Francisco Department of the Environment. SFE's request of $1.8 million in FY 2024-25 and $1.6 million in FY 2025-26 is tiny portion of the city's budget, but would defend staff critical to leveraging tens of millions in grant funding for climate mitigation and resilience programs.

Comments on CARB Zero-Emission Space and Water Heater Standards

Advocacy Letter
SPUR joined a comment letter with other advocacy partners advising the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on the adoption of zero-emission space and water heater standards for the state. The letter encourages CARB to align standards with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's new rules on zero-emission space and water heating, and provides additional recommendations for analysis and implementation.

SPUR Public Comment on Draft San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study

Advocacy Letter
The Draft Plan was released in late January by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in collaboration with the City of San Francisco, to build coastal flood defenses along the Port's 7.5-mile jurisdiction between Aquatic Park and Heron's Head Park. The Draft Flood Study's proposed adaptation strategies will lead the way for regional and statewide efforts on sea level rise adaptation over the next 50 to 100 years. SPUR, Save the Bay, and Greenbelt Alliance submitted a public comment letter with five recommendations regarding proposed actions around elevating the shoreline, mitigating contamination, addressing inland flooding from stormwater and groundwater, the use of bay fill, and nature-based solutions. Read the letter to learn more.

Preparing for the “Big One” Amid a Housing Crisis

News /
The Bay Area is already facing a housing crisis: Housing is unaffordable for low- and middle-income residents, development is not keeping up with demand, and in 2022 more than 30,000 people were unhoused. If a major earthquake were to hit the region, thousands of housing units could be lost, deepening the crisis. A recent event hosted by SPUR, the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute highlighted the region’s earthquake-related displacement risks and opportunities to reduce them.

Remembering Joe Bodovitz

News /
SPUR’s first deputy director, Joseph Bodovitz, died on March 9, 2024, at age 93, following a very influential career in public service and environmental protection. A remembrance by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission observed, “Nobody in the entire State of California was more influential in developing California’s coastal zone management policies than Joe Bodovitz.” And it all started at SPUR.

SPUR supports SB 1095, the Cozy Homes Cleanup Act

Advocacy Letter
SPUR and our partners support SB 1095 (Becker, 2024) which updates code ambiguities to ensure individuals can switch from gas to electric appliances, allowing Californians to opt for cozier and healthier zero-emission homes.