Orange skyline of San Francisco during extreme fires of 2020

Sustainability and Resilience

Our goal: Eliminate carbon emissions and create resilient, environmentally just communities.

SPUR’s Five-Year Priorities:

• Eliminate the use of fossil fuel in buildings.

Use nature-based solutions to make communities resilient to sea level rise.

Make sure that all people and ecosystems have the water they need to thrive.

• Improve seismic safety of buildings and advance hazard planning and preparedness.


Read our policy agenda

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

Oakland Adopts SPUR Recommendations in Its General Plan Update

News /
Oakland has launched what it describes as a “once-in-a generation” opportunity to create a visionary blueprint for the city’s future. SPUR sprang to action when the city released its inaugural draft Environmental Justice Element and its draft Safety Element update as part of the city’s 2045 General Plan Update. Our efforts paid off: the city council adopted several of our recommendations, all of which will help economically vulnerable Oaklanders, in particular.

Governor Newsom Signs SPUR-Sponsored Bills Into Law

News /
The close of the 2023 state legislative year brought a number of big wins for SPUR. Governor Newsom signed nine pieces of SPUR-sponsored legislation that will, among other things, prevent the misuse of environmental review processes to stop or delay new housing, pilot speed safety cameras on streets with high crash rates, and speed up timelines for connecting all-electric buildings and EV charging stations to the power grid.

Support for SB 272 (Senator Laird) on Sea Level Rise Planning and Adaptation

Advocacy Letter
The Bay Area faces enormous challenges from sea level rise not just because of our physical location, but also because of our fragmented governance. Senate Bill 272 will give the Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission authority to work with local government to develop consistent, equitable, and effective shoreline resilience plans that protect vulnerable communities.

Multifamily Seismic Retrofit Program Secures $15 Million from State, But More Investment Is Needed

News /
California will soon provide financial assistance for seismic retrofitting to owners of some multifamily apartment buildings as part of the Multifamily Seismic Retrofit Program, the state’s first program to protect low- to moderate-income renters in vulnerable buildings. Additional funding will be needed to effectively address seismic risk, protect public safety, preserve housing, and support community resilience in the aftermath of severe earthquakes.

Letter to the CPUC: Protect Rooftop Solar and Batteries for California Renters

Advocacy Letter
SPUR has signed on to this letter of support to help protect access to the financial and environmental benefits of rooftop solar and batteries for California renters. Last year, the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gutted California's premier rooftop solar program for homeowners and businesses– Net Metering(NEM). Now the utilities are lobbying the CPUC to do the same for people who live in multi-family dwellings.

Buildings: The Weak Link in California’s Race to Slow Climate Change

News /
California homes and workplaces are failing to keep pace with the clean energy transition — so much so that the buildings sector could scuttle California’s 2050 net-neutrality goal. Assembly Bill 593 (Haney) , now before the California legislature, would direct the California Energy Commission to develop a pollution-cutting plan for buildings that fast-tracks progress by centering equity in implementation.