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San Francisco – green and growing

The IFHP Travel Squad reports from San Francisco: Regarded as one of the greenest cities in the U.S., San Francisco sets the scene for green living and environmental goals.

However, the city is projected to grow by 30% in the next 20 years. How does planning for growth and greening the city go hand in hand?

Green San Francisco
San Francisco is geographically small – only 47 square miles – with more than 17 percent of its urban fabric dedicated to parks and open spaces. People move to the city due to its green amenities, walkable neighborhoods and environmental-friendly living. But in the next 20 years, San Francisco is to accommodate 200,000 new inhabitants and 200,000 new jobs. This puts pressure on the city.

“There is a big change going on in U.S. cities where people move to the cities from the suburbs,” Planning Director John Rahaim explains. “The younger generation wants to be in the city, especially walking-friendly cities like San Francisco. A lot of young people also move here because of the many new jobs in the tech industry. We as planners feel very strongly that we can only grow if we grow denser, greener, smarter and move towards transit options that are not about the automobile.”

Eco-Districts to lead the way
In order to engage local communities, San Francisco Planning Department have identified four types of Eco-Districts: The Blank Slate, The Patchwork Quilt, The Strengthened Neighborhood and the Industrial Network. Eco-Districts are neighborhood scale public-private partnerships that are to target the city’s environmental goals, strengthen the economy, and create a stronger sense of place.

“For the past 10 years, the Planning Department has planned for substantial growth within the city through our Better Neighborhoods Plan,” Lead Sustainability Planner Kate McGee continues. “Now we encourage communities to work together as Eco-Districts to promote sustainable behavior and economic development. Property owners, businesses and residents; all are to contribute time, dollars and enthusiasm to identify, prioritize, and implement sustainable development projects in their area.”

 Read the previous blogs on San Francisco
IFHP Travel Squad reports from San Francisco
San Francisco at a glance with IFHP
Living Innovation Zones - a tool to improve public space
San Francisco innovating through data sharing
San Francisco - City of High and Low
Parklets - claiming back the streets
San Francisco - City of Tranparency and Innovation