Regenerative Assessment and District Infrastructure Plan for San Francisco


San Francisco, CA


San Francisco Planning Department




  • Integrated Urban Services
  • RUC / RUN
  • Circular Economy
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Nature-Based Solutions


  • Capacity Building
  • KPI Development
  • Regenerative Impact Assessment
  • Solution Scenario Modeling
  • Feasibility and Design
  • PPPs


RIV’s Joshua Foss led a first-of-its-kind regenerative city assessment and district grid design for San Francisco. The project helped define regenerative urbanism and its unique value proposition for multiple municipal agencies. It included an overview of global innovation precedents and utilized RIV’s Regenerative City Assessment platform to benchmark and assess the regenerative potential of Central SoMa – a 230-acre district adjacent to downtown that is projected to add 20MSF of new development by 2040 – as a test case.

Building on the assessment, the consulting team developed four interconnected ‘Big Move’ strategies that could advance Central SoMa towards regenerative systems performance. The report packaged these Big Moves into a proposal to test feasibility and cost. Preliminary assessment found that the regenerative infrastructure improvements supporting both new projects and the existing built environment would roughly cost 10% over the cost of traditional development, yet yield more than $2B in additional public benefits through new revenues, savings, and avoided costs.

The report suggests that new governance models and forms of coordination are required to unlock the promise of regenerative urbanism and capture its benefits. A proposed model would integrate government, private, academic, and civic functions within a ‘cooperation entity’ that coordinates interests, sets policy initiatives, and pays for capital and operational costs of the regenerative district.

This sustainability assessment was acknowledged as the most advanced study the city had commissioned to date.