Final Design Concepts

In May 2017, the Bay Area Challenge launched with a regional call to action to strengthen our resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding and earthquakes. Now that the challenge is over and we have the final design concepts, the real challenge has begun. 

BARC is focused on turning these final design concepts into real-world models and solutions for Bay Area jurisdictions to become more resilient. Recognizing that this work is underway, there is plenty more to come as the details unfold. 

Here’s an overview of the nine projects. 

Elevate San Rafael | Bionic Team | San Rafael, Marin County

Designing Our Own Solutions | P+SET | Marin City, Marin County

The Grand Bayway | Common Ground | San Pablo Bay, Sonoma & Napa County

Islais Hyper Creek | BIG + ONE + Sherwood | Islais Creek, San Francisco County

ouR Home | The Home Team | Richmond, Contra Costa County

Estuary Commons | The All Bay Collective | San Leandro Bay, Alameda County

Public Sediment for Alameda Creek | Public Sediment | Alameda Creek, Alameda County

Collect & Connect | HASSELL+ | South San Francisco, San Mateo County

South Bay Sponge | The Field Operations Team | San Mateo & Santa Clara County

Elevate San Rafael | Bionic Team | San Rafael, Marin County

“Elevate San Rafael” is a new paradigm for responding to complex environmental change and simply what needs to be done: occupy higher elevations and raise the quality of life and social connection for everyone. It proposes evolving the city by combining time-tested approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial, and infrastructural agenda for large-scale preparation. This strategic change and redefining the relationship to the bay lends the singular opportunity to elevate all aspects of life. To physically elevate habitation and community bonds and dignity. To elevate ones social and financial position, and policy for urban change. To lift infrastructure to new elevations and purposes, and allow for ecology to persist and expand.

Designing Our Own Solutions | P+SET | Marin City, Marin County

The Permaculture and Social Equity Team proposed a social design process to build community capacity in leading the challenges of coastal adaptation and resiliency planning. The team was invited to implement their process in Marin City by Shore Up Marin, an environmental justice and resiliency planning organization. Out of the process grew a capacity building program, resulting in an inspiring People’s Plan to authentically reflect the aspirations and intentions of the resident community. An intergenerational cohort expanded existing knowledge for assessing and addressing risks, developing near and long term strategies with a prioritized set of projects to be partially implemented as early as this summer.
 

The Grand Bayway | Common Ground | San Pablo Bay, Sonoma & Napa County

State Route 37, a low-lying commute route that skirts the northern edge of San Pablo Bay, is both traffic-choked and increasingly flooded due to sea level rise. Sitting atop a precarious levee that confines an immense but compromised marsh complex, Dr. Fraser Shilling of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center has observed, “the highway has the dubious distinction of constricting both traffic and tidal flows.” The project considers a new future for this highway as an elevated scenic byway, creating an iconic “front door” to a vast ecological open space previously known to few. Accessible to cyclists, runners, kayakers, campers, and fishermen, the Grand Bayway will become a Central Park with more 21st century sensibilities for rapidly expanding North Bay communities.

Islais Hyper Creek | BIG + ONE + Sherwood | Islais Creek, San Francisco County

The Islais Hyper-Creek is a vision for the area where ecology and industry co-exist in harmony. A large park with a restored tidal creek system and soft shoreline that shares the area with maritime functions, light manufacturing, and logistics, that have existed in the place for decades. The park plays an important role in building physical and social resilience: it retains, conveys and cleans water, protects the surrounding neighborhoods and provides amenities and benefits to the community. The current industrial functions are consolidated on a smaller area, in clusters of complementary programs. This increases their efficiency and provides new economic opportunities.
Six proposed pilot projects, developed together with stakeholders and the local communities, will kickstart a long-term process towards realizing the overall vision.

ouR Home | The Home Team | Richmond, Contra Costa County

The ouR-HOME sea level rise response projects are linked to the health and financial well-being of residents that have been traditionally shut out of opportunities to improve health and family wealth. Small lot housing, a community land trust, social impact bonds and community infrastructure combine to lower the cost of entry to home ownership. Green infrastructure proposals to bring the ‘marsh to Main Street’ with a horizontal levee, and plant 20,000 trees to filter air and water, are strategies that can be implemented through existing local job and career programs – benefiting the people in North Richmond.

Estuary Commons | The All Bay Collective | San Leandro Bay, Alameda County

To protect local neighborhoods and restore native habitats, ABC is rethinking the shoreline around San Leandro Bay with the creation of Estuary Commons. Through the construction of ponds, landforms, and expanded streams, the communities of Deep East Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro will not only be able to adapt to sea-level rise and groundwater flooding, but will also have a network of flourishing greenways to enjoy for generations to come. ABC has worked closely with eight community organizations from East Oakland to move the communities from the margins to the center of the design and planning process.

Public Sediment for Alameda Creek | Public Sediment | Alameda Creek, Alameda County

Tidal ecosystems are protective infrastructure that cushion the urban edges of the San Francisco Bay. Yet the Bay Area’s tidal ecosystems—its marshes, mudflats—are at risk. These systems require sediment to grow vertically in response to sea level rise – without sediment, our baylands will drown. Low sediment supply and bayland drowning represents a slow but devastating scale of loss that threatens ecosystems, recreational landscapes, and places hundreds of thousands of residents and the region’s critical drinking water, energy, and transportation systems at risk. To creatively adapt to this challenge, our team has focused on sediment, the building block of resilience in the Bay. 

Collect & Connect | HASSELL+ | South San Francisco, San Mateo County

Collect & Connect - Resilient South City is a proposal to create more public green space and continuous public access along South San Francisco’s Colma Creek, aiming to reduce the impacts of flooding, mitigate against sea-level rise vulnerability, restore native flora and fauna, and create more amenity
and healthy lifestyle opportunities by connecting a continuous public corridor from Orange Memorial Park to a new public park at the shoreline.

South Bay Sponge | The Field Operations Team | San Mateo & Santa Clara County

The South Bay Sponge is a design framework for adaptation - for adapting our shoreline and infrastructure and for advancing our methods of planning, design and cooperation to achieve new and resilient forms of settlement on the Bay. The Bay is so many things to so many different people – it is a place of beauty, serenity, ecology, recreation, economy and identity, to name just a few. The Field Operations Team worked closely with the communities in the South Bay and Silicon Valley to shape a vibrant and living framework for adaptation in the face of climate change and sea level rise, envisioning a future where nature and technology work together to improve the resiliency of our cities and towns, our social fabric and our collective health and well-being.

For more information about all projects, visit the Resilient Bay Area website.