Policy Internship

Greenbelt Alliance seeks a motivated individual to provide policy research support for our campaigns for open space protection and better city planning throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The position requires a 2-5 days/week commitment for at least three months (six month commitment preferred). Working hours are flexible, but most work must be completed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.


Between 2005 and 2035, the Bay Area will grow by two million people. This growth could make the Bay Area a better place to live, or it could hurt the region. Will people be able to find homes they can afford? Will they be able to walk or bike to work, or will they have to pay for gasoline, whatever it costs? Will natural areas and working farms continue to provide clean air, clean water, and fresh food? Greenbelt Alliance’s Grow Smart Bay Area vision and research shows that by directing growth to existing cities and towns, protecting the region’s natural areas and working farms, and making sure this growth happens in an equitable way that benefits everyone, the Bay Area will remain a great place to live.

Greenbelt Alliance staff are engaged in multiple land-use planning campaigns to carry out the Grow Smart Bay Area vision. Examples include:
•    Developing a plan to protect open space in unincorporated Sonoma County, using both traditional and new policy tools.
•    Creating a vibrant, walkable neighborhood around San Jose’s Diridon Transit Center that includes homes affordable to all income levels and focuses mobility on people, not cars.
•    Engaging in the region’s implementation of SB375 to ensure that the Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy reflects the Grow Smart Bay Area vision.
•    Developing and producing a report and interactive website identifying land in the Bay Area at risk for development, the natural value and the policy measures in place to protect the land.

The Policy Intern will provide policy support to Greenbelt Alliance campaign leads. Tasks may include:

•    GIS-based research – for example, what is the historic rate of urbanization of land in the Bay Area compared to population growth? What is the walking and bicycling distance from a proposed station? What are the open space values at risk of urbanization in the Bay Area?
•    Policy research – for example, what new zoning tools could Sonoma County implement to prevent rural parcelization and sprawl development?
•    GIS system development – updating and improving Greenbelt Alliance’s GIS data layers •    Emissions analysis – using the URBEMIS software package to calculate estimated
greenhouse gas emissions from development proposals
•    Analysis of public documents – for example, reviewing draft Specific Plans and Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and drafting formal comment letters

The Policy Intern will report to the Policy Researcher, and will work with other staff in the Program Department as appropriate.


This position requires a 2 to 5 day a week commitment for at least three months starting immediately; a six-month commitment is strongly preferred. Interns are expected to adhere to a regular schedule, but working hours are flexible and interns can generally choose this schedule. Most work must be completed between 9am and 5pm weekdays in the Greenbelt Alliance main office in downtown San Francisco. This location is BART and MUNI accessible and public transportation is encouraged.

Talents/skills desired

Greenbelt Alliance is seeking candidates with strong quantitative and qualitative research skills, strong writing skills, and a friendly and professional demeanor. Knowledge of urban planning or land-use policies is highly desired. Ideal candidates should have strong organizational skills and an ability to work independently to meet deadlines. Excel and one year of GIS experience are required. Graduate students and recent college graduates are encouraged to apply, but advanced undergraduates will also be considered.


The position is unpaid. Travel reimbursement is available for interns working more than 30 hours a week who can demonstrate financial need.
This position is an excellent opportunity to have an impact on land use decisions throughout the Bay Area. The intern will meet professionals from around the region and will learn about environmental and urban planning issues while developing a network of contacts and references in the non-profit field. When applying for future jobs, interns will be able to point to tangible results from their work and describe discrete projects that they led.

About us

Greenbelt Alliance is the San Francisco Bay Area’s advocate for open spaces and vibrant places. Founded in 1958, we work to make the Bay Area a better place to live by protecting the region’s greenbelt and improving the livability of our cities and towns. We have helped protect over 1.1 million acres of farmlands, parks, watersheds and other open space. We are also a leading advocate for the creation of livable communities: walkable neighborhoods near transit, shops, and jobs, with homes people can afford.

With a committed staff of 20-plus, there is strong team spirit and sense of fun at our organization. We are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and Walnut Creek. Greenbelt Alliance values a diverse workplace and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, people of all sexual orientation, trans and gender non-conforming people, and individuals of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

To apply

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Adam Garcia, Policy Researcher, at agarcia@greenbelt.org. Please include the date you would be available to start work. Applications will be evaluated as they arrive; the position is open until filled.

One Comment on “Policy Internship

  1. Dear Adam Garcia,
    I am very interested in the Policy Internship. I am very passionate about the need to create awareness regarding sustainability and the need to conserve our resources.
    I a currently attending Portland State University but my home is here in the Bay Area. My major is Community Development with a minor in Architecture.
    Please let me know if you’re still this position is still open. If so, I will send over my resume immediately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *