The San Francisco Sustainable Development program evolved from creative and collaborative partnerships that generated the recent sustainable design components of signature projects such as the Transit Center, Treasure Island, Candlestick Park/Hunters Point, and the Eco-District framework for a sustainable San Francisco. It is a work in progress of exploration and innovation. It extends emerging trends around systems thinking and ecological planning, design, and development to San Francisco planning opportunities, thereby fostering connection, community, and sustainability in the context of climate change.
San Francisco joined the 2030 District Initiative, the eighth city to commit to dramatic reductions in energy and water use in commercial buildings – 50% by 2030. San Francisco has been working behind the scenes for 2 years with an industry stakeholder group to put the plan together; it is a real private-public partnership. Thez have 24 committed member buildings located in downtown San Francisco comprising about 9mm square feet, and growing up to 150mm square feet.
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Treasure Island Eco-City
Treasure Island lies in the middle of San Francisco Bay, visible to the left of the Bay Bridge as it crosses from San Francisco to Oakland. Abutting hilly Yerba Buena Island, Treasure Island is a man-made island and former naval base created in the 1930s from dredged bay mud and sand. In 2000, plans were announced to redevelop Treasure Island from a dumpy former military base with sensational views of San Francisco into a model sustainable residential community only a ferry ride away from downtown. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently unanimously approved a planned $1.5 billion green redevelopment plan for the island, after the San Francisco Planning Commission green-lighted the environmental review earlier this spring. The vote went forward despite blowback from environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, due to concerns over increased vehicular traffic and potential tsunami risks, as well as community concerns over affordable housing.
The plans for Treasure Island entail a massive population shift for the tiny island – from around 2,000 to more than 19,000 residents. The concept for a sustainable urban community includes multiple units of housing, an artificial wetland area integrated with water treatment, wind power, recreation and gardening areas, a marina, and a small shopping district. Skidmore, Owings + Merrill head up the design team along with Perkins + Will and Conger Moss Guillard. Some of the original naval structures will remain intact, notably the Treasure Island Administrative building.
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San Francisco Smart City
San Francisco has a reputation for being innovative when it comes to technology, and with Silicon Valley nearby and a large number of Internet-based companies making their homes there, it’s not difficult to see why. San Francisco is a global leader in smart-city projects, with one of its claims to fame being that it provides its residents with a large number of free WiFi hotspots. In fact on Market Street, a main road downtown, there’s actually three whole miles of free WiFi. But where the city really excels is in green and sustainability initiatives. It is a leader in recycling, mandating that its residents separate their garbage into three categories: recycling, compost, and landfill waste. They also encourage their citizens to participate in energy conservation by providing them with mobile and web access to precise, near real-time energy use data and advice on how they can save. The city also provides more than 100 charging stations in various locations to promote the use of hybrid and electric cars and reduce automobile-related pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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