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Public spaces include all the public areas outside of your home that you can visit, including parks, plazas, libraries and streets where you can walk, bike and connect with others. This infrastructure can tie communities together, serve as gathering spaces and provide more spaces for healthy living.

The Planning Department is planning for public spaces that are safe and enjoyable for community members and prioritizing the equitable distribution of these spaces, especially in traditionally underserved communities where the needs are the greatest. We’re planning for faster delivery of this infrastructure by moving toward a comprehensive citywide funding approach and incentivizing the creation of new public spaces whenever new development is built.

Learn more below about our planning initiatives that support public spaces where everyone can play, learn and connect.

circular arrow Initiatives in Progress

What we're working on now to create enjoyable and sustainable public spaces

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Initiatives in Progress

What we're working on now to create enjoyable and sustainable public spaces

Satellite view of De Anza in Mission Bay Park

De Anza Natural

De Anza Natural is the De Anza Cove Amendment to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan. De Anza Natural plans for a balance of local and regional recreational needs while restoring natural habitats and preparing for the impacts of climate change. De Anza Natural envisions enhanced recreational activities in the area with new facilities, such as a multi-use waterfront trail and a small non-motorized boat lease area for the cove.

Equity Forward San Diego

Equity Forward

Equity Forward is a comprehensive approach to creating a more equitable, healthy and enjoyable place for all San Diegans. The evolving policies, plans and processes under Equity Forward will create more equitable opportunities and investments in San Diego. By acknowledging the effects of policy decisions that have resulted in inequitable outcomes, Equity Forward will leverage the diversity of voices in our city to benefit all San Diegans.

circular arrows Ongoing Work

What we're working on year-round to create enjoyable and sustainable public spaces

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Ongoing Work

What we're working on year-round to create enjoyable and sustainable public spaces

Capital Improvements Program Prioritization Engagement

The City Council adopted updates to council policies to help prioritize infrastructure projects to ensure equitable infrastructure investments across the City of San Diego. These updates will support delivering infrastructure to San Diegans where it is wanted and most needed based on today’s community needs and the expected service level. Planning staff will engage with community members across the City on a regular basis to hear their input about infrastructure priorities so that the City can ensure equitable prioritization of projects.

Park Ribbon Cutting

Funding Public Infrastructure

The Planning Department administers Development Impact Fees (DIF) and reimbursement agreements and monitors development agreements. These fees contribute toward public infrastructure such as mobility improvements, parks, recreation, libraries and fire stations. The Planning Department also facilitates the delivery of developer designed and constructed infrastructure needed to serve new development. This is facilitated through a variety of methods, including through developer reimbursement agreements and development agreements, as well as through the administration of other financing options, such as enhanced infrastructure financing districts.

San Ysidro Branch Library

General Plan

The City of San Diego's General Plan is the comprehensive guide for development, providing policy guidance to address the needs of a growing city while enhancing quality of life for current and future San Diegans over the next 20 to 30 years. This comprehensive plan is the foundation upon which all land use decisions in the City are based. It addresses how to allow for more homes, provide convenient and sustainable transportation options, preserve the environment, ensure high-quality public facilities and services and support the local economy. The General Plan includes the City of Villages strategy which focuses growth into mixed-use villages activity centers that are pedestrian-friendly districts, of different scales, linked to the regional transit system.

Cover of 2008 General Plan

check mark Recent Initiatives Approved by City Council

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Recent Initiatives Approved by City Council

City employee leads a city planning session

Build Better SD

Build Better SD is a citywide initiative to support the City of San Diego’s equity, access, conservation and sustainability goals. This initiative sets clear policies intended to create more opportunities for innovative, culturally relevant and interactive public spaces. Investments are prioritized in areas where the needs are greatest, which will result in delivering infrastructure faster across the City.

Our Climate, Our Future, Climate Resilient San Diego

Climate Resilient SD

Climate Resilient SD is a plan to prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change, including extreme heat, wildfires, flooding, drought and sea level rise. This plan lays the foundation for a greener, healthier,and enjoyable city, with a focus on frontline communities that will bear the largest burden of extreme weather in San Diego.-

Illustrative map of complete community

Complete Communities: Mobility Choices

Complete Communities: Mobility Choices ensures that new developments support investments that make it safer and easier for San Diegans to walk, bike and spend time outside. This ordinance requires builders of new homes, offices and shops to invest in infrastructure like better walkways, shade trees and transit stop upgrades to reduce the car trips, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support cleaner air for all. At least 50% of new funds for this safe transportation infrastructure will be located in traditionally underserved communities where the needs are the greatest.

Community Park

Parks Master Plan

The Parks Master Plan identifies policies, actions and partnerships for planning parks, recreation facilities and programs that reflect the vision of a world-class Citywide network of recreational experiences to engage, inspire and connect all San Diegans. Equity is a central value of the City’s Parks Master Plan. Park planning and investments should address long-standing inequities in the City’s parks system experienced by people that live in traditionally underserved communities and areas with the greatest park deficiencies – areas of the City where we know that the greatest needs exist – by ensuring equal access to meaningful recreational opportunities.-

Balboa Park Botanical Building

Prioritizing Infrastructure Projects – Council Policy Updates

New council policy updates will guide equitable infrastructure project prioritization and improve engagement with communities to gather information about infrastructure needs in the City. Council Policy 000-32 is being updated to ensure the public has multiple opportunities to share their input regarding infrastructure needs. Council Policy 800-14 will be updated to better determine infrastructure project prioritization based on where the infrastructure is most needed and can serve the most people.

Cover of Spaces as Places Design Guidelines

Spaces as Places

Spaces as Places is the City of San Diego's comprehensive program to allow permanent outdoor dining and other community gathering spaces within areas of the public right of way. Established regulations and a design manual offer a menu of options to create outdoor areas for dining, walking, biking, public art, education, entertainment and other activities.

How We're Planning for:

Homes & Jobs Equity Environment