Still Seeking Green

In 2000, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported a park spending measure that was supposed to fund parks over the long term. It hasn’t quite worked out as promised.

Just as they need workforce housing, transit and sewer lines, cities need trees, grass and green spaces for their residents to thrive. San Franciscans have always known that our parks and open spaces are essential to our quality of life and have consistently urged our political leaders to grasp that connection. "Still Seeking Green," a research brief following up on a more comprehensive report published by SPUR in 2011, looks at park funding since the Open Space Fund set-aside was passed in 2000, and finds that our parks continue to lose out in the City's budget process.

As the City grows more dense, the need for parks and access to green spaces increases. The City is growing, and yet parks continually lose out in the annual budget process. In the period between 2001-02 and 2015-16, the City’s General Fund grew 43 percent, but general operating support for parks only grew 30 percent. The City’s parks generate almost $1 billion a year in economic benefits and yet are not able to keep up with needs for tree maintenance, park patrol, and overall facility maintenance and upkeep. Parks need a sustainable, stable source of revenue so that the City can offer every resident access to a clean, safe, fun and beautiful park and recreation system in San Francisco.

The Parks Alliance is working with Supervisor Mark Farrell on a charter amendment that will fund parks sustainably over the long term. We want to know what you think! Complete our Park Priorities survey >>>