San José was selected as a model city for the new USA Sustainable Cities Initiative (USA-SCI) in 2015. This project, led by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), brings together academic institutions and key stakeholders to support the UN's newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals—a series of global aspirations and priorities designed to take on major sustainable development challenges. San José State University served as the university partner to facilitate a process that evaluated the City of San José's strategies and goals in support of sustainable development. In addition, recommendations for future opportunities the City could consider to implement the SDGs at the local level were developed.

The final report from this work, San José: Implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals at the Local Level, was published in December 2016.