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

SPUR Oakland 2023 Draft Safety Element Comments

Advocacy Letter
Advocacy letter making recommendations for inclusion in Oakland's 2023 Safety Element (part of the General Plan update process). Recommendations were shared with Oakland Policy Board prior to letter submission to City of Oakland.

SPUR Comments on Oakland's Draft Environmental Justice Element

Advocacy Letter
SPUR recently submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Justice Element of the City of Oakland 2045 General Plan Update. Overall, SPUR feels that the EJ Element Draft is a thoughtful document that effectively uses data and demonstrates a clear commitment to evidence-based, inclusionary policy. The EJ Element is an important step toward addressing Oakland's past of inequitable city planning and ensuring that all Oaklanders have access to pollution-free air, clean water, a safe home, and other positive environmental factors. In our comments, SPUR offers recommendations on how the EJ Element can be improved to meet these goals.

Support for SB 410 (Becker), Powering Up Californians Act

Advocacy Letter
The Powering Up Californians Act by Senator Josh Becker would help accelerate connecting EV charging infrastructure, new development, and retrofitted buildings to the electrical grid - a process that's been plagued by prolonged delays that are slowing the state's transition to a clean, electric economy.

New Findings on Shallow Groundwater Rise Highlight a Climate Risk Not Addressed by Policy

News /
The Bay Area’s climate change adaptation strategies don’t reflect — and might even worsen — the impacts of coastal groundwater rise, which is expected to accelerate with sea level rise as the climate warms. New findings on groundwater rise point to multiple potential risks: degradation of underground infrastructure, movement of underground contaminants left by industrial activities, and an increase in liquefaction during earthquakes. The region’s coastal areas may need a new adaptation paradigm.

SPUR Letter to CalOES on Draft 2023 State Hazard Mitigation Plan

Advocacy Letter
The draft 2023 State Hazard Mitigation Plan did not include mention of a newly understood climate risk known as groundwater rise. Groundwater rise is likely to cause flooding, toxin mobilization in soils, and deterioration of underground infrastructure at an accelerated pace. This letter is signed by SPUR partners working on groundwater rise and climate adaptation issues in the region.

SPUR Sponsors Bill to Increase Shared Parking (AB 894 - Friedman)

Advocacy Letter
SPUR is sponsoring a bill to require that agencies allow land owners and managers to share underutilized parking and to count such shared parking toward meeting parking requirements. The bill would also require new developments and parking lots funded by public agencies to evaluate shared parking options. If passed, this bill will reduce a common circumstance of costly parking being required in situations where other parking is available nearby.