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.

Make communities and infrastructure resilient to earthquakes.

 

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

Article

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


Earthquake Resilience Planning Means Bringing the Needs of the Most Vulnerable into Focus

News /
Historical inequities have left many low-income communities of color and other vulnerable populations without access to the resources they need to adapt in the face of a major earthquake in the Bay Area. In addition, many of the region’s vulnerable residents live in high liquefaction zones and aging apartment buildings that do not meet seismic codes. Building retrofits are only part of the solution, as a look at Oakland’s earthquake resilience challenges reveals. If the Bay Area wants to substantially reduce post-earthquake impacts on the region’s most at-risk residents, policy makers must plan for equity-centered mitigation and recovery efforts. SPUR is on the case.

SPUR advocates for support of the Board of Supervisors to include Climate Action Plan funding priorities in the general obligation bond schedule

Advocacy Letter
SPUR respectfully requests the Board of Supervisors’ support on the resolution which urges the inclusion of Climate Action Plan funding priorities in the general obligation bond schedule. This resolution pulls from the recommended funding priorities provided in the Center for Law, Energy & Environment (CLEE) Report, entitled “Funding San Francisco Climate Action: Strategies for Revenue, Implementation, and Equity,” to be incorporated into the proposed General Obligation (GO) Bond schedule.

2022 Election Delivers Mixed Results for SPUR Priorities

News /
SPUR developed several ballot measures during the latest election cycle, and its research heavily influenced a handful of others. Bay Area voters considered measures on streamlining housing approvals, continuing pandemic-era slow streets programs, enacting good government reforms and funding programs to address air quality and climate change. While we didn’t win ’em all, we’re pleased to see a number of SPUR’s ideas gaining traction around the region.

Research Fellows and Interns Make Major Contributions to SPUR’s Work

News /
During the last two academic years, SPUR has been fortunate to host a talented group of policy researchers through partnerships with graduate school fellowship and practicum programs. Their research has contributed to SPUR’s work, including policy changes and proposed legislation at the regional and state levels. Learn more about the work they’ve done with SPUR and what they’ve gone on to do after collaborating with us.

Gas Appliances and Smog: California's Hidden Air Pollution Problem

Policy Brief
Gas appliances in California homes and buildings generate four times as much lung-damaging nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution as the state's gas power plants, and roughly two thirds as much NOx as all of the state’s passenger cars. To meet federal air quality standards that protect health, air quality regulators in California must phase out the sale of gas appliances and implement equity-centered implementation plans for transitioning homes to electric alternatives like heat pumps – which produce no onsite air pollution.

The IRA Is Historic, but We Still Need Prop. 30 to Fight Climate Change

News /
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Biden last month, is the largest ever federal investment in fighting climate change. While we as Americans should be taking a victory lap for this momentous achievement, we should not for one moment think that the investments in the IRA are alone sufficient to tackle climate change. To win this generation’s greatest fight, we will need major continued investments at the federal, state and local levels. That’s why SPUR is supporting Prop. 30, a measure which would make historic investments in fighting climate change — investments that pay off in the form of fuel cost savings and avoided premature deaths, asthma attacks and cleaner air.