BIG, James Corner, SCAPE and Bionic unveil proposals for the Resilient by Design Bay Area challenge

The Resilient By Design for one year | The Bay Area Challenge Ideas Competition sought to use community-led green design to “develop innovative solutions that will strengthen [the Bay Area’s] resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, floods and earthquakes. Last week, the nine teams working with communities and local organizations on the competition unveiled final proposals for a set of sites scattered across the San Francisco Bay Area.

The nine sites represent a collection of some of the region’s most ecologically sensitive areas, places that could experience dramatic changes over the next few decades as climate change sets in. The initiative aims to start repositioning these areas – some are densely populated while others are home to vital regional infrastructure – for a future marked by climate change. For the competition, design teams led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), Tom Leader Studio (TLS) and others continue their efforts to restore regional wetlands and riparian floodplains throughout by reorienting infrastructure investments and development based on these new landscapes.

The proposals have been developed to be workable strategies. Next, communities and designers will work with regional, state and federal agencies to fully implement their plans. The nine proposals are distributed below:

Plan view of Grand Bayway. (Courtesy of Common Ground)

The Great Bay

The Common Ground team led by TLS Landscape Architecture proposes to extend Highway 37 across San Pablo Bay by designing an elevated scenic causeway that would allow riverside landscapes to flow under the new multimodal artery. The team proposes to deploy the causeway brilliantly by dividing various traffic lanes into viaducts that wind through the landscape, including a large ‘mobility loop’ encircling rich recreation areas.

The design team is made up of Exploratorium, Guy Nordenson & Assoc., Michael Maltzan Architecture, HR&A Advisors, Sitelab Urban Studio, Lotus Water, Rana Creek, Dr. John Oliver, Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley and Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants .

View of our HOUSE proposal. (Courtesy of the host team)

our house

The our-HOME project proposes to roll out a package of land use reforms to encourage small housing, community land trusts, social impact bonds and new community infrastructure to prepare the community of North Richmond for climate change. The proposal calls for the construction of a new “horizontal dike” around the city that will protect it from potentially toxic runoff that could emanate from a nearby gasoline refinery during a flood. The vision also calls for the planting of 20,000 new trees to help “bring the swamp to Main Street,” an effort that aims to preserve and build on the existing community wealth in the predominantly African-American and Latin enclave. American.

The team is led by San Francisco-based architectural firm Mithun and includes Chinatown Community Development Center, ISEEED / Streetwyze, BioHabitats, Integral Group, HR&A Advisors, Moffat & Nichol, ALTA Planning, Urban Biofilter, and Resilient Design Institute.

View of the Estuary Commons proposal. (Courtesy of All Bay Collective)

Municipalities of the estuary

The Estuary Commons plan creates a new network of ecologically focused public spaces along the areas surrounding the estuaries of San Leandro Bay in Alameda County. The proposal calls for investments in green cycle lanes, secondary housing and inclusive zoning reforms in order to “build resilience within the community”. The offer focused on social and environmental justice also calls for burying a section of Interstate-880 through downtown Oakland to address past planning errors.

The All Bay Collective – composed of AECOM, CMG Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley- College of Environmental Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Terner Center, California College of the Arts, IDEO, Silvestrum, SKEO, modem and David Baker Architects— is at the origin of the project.

View of the public sediment plan for the Alameda stream. (Courtesy of public sediments)

Public sediments for the Alameda stream

The Public Sediment for Alameda Creek plan calls for reconnecting sediment flows between Alameda Creek and the bay’s wetlands to create a natural and ecologically rich defense against flood waters. The project revises the currently static flood control canals that crisscross the southwestern edge of the bay into redesigned estuaries, sediment traps and berms that facilitate sediment accumulation while allowing public use and natural habitats.

The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and also includes Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and Buoyant Ecologies Lab.

View of the South Bay Sponge proposal. (Courtesy of the Field Operations Team)

South bay sponge

South Bay Sponge’s proposal seeks to use a mixture of cut and fill excavations and zoning interchanges to build densely on the heights along the southern edge of the bay in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The plan would create networks of “sponge” landscapes that absorb tidal currents and runoff, efforts that would involve reorganizing the urban fabric in these areas into dense residential nodes surrounded by water-friendly landscapes.

The design team behind the proposal includes JCFO, Moffatt & Nichol, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, SF BAY National Estuarine Research Reserve, Romberg-Tiburon Center, SFSF, Andrea Baker Consulting, James Lima Planning + Development, The Bay Institute , SeArc / ECOncrete, HT Harvey and Associates, and Adventure Pictures.

Aerial view of the Resilient South City proposal. (Courtesy of the Hassell + team)

Resilient Southern City

The Hassell + team proposes to create additional public green space and a continuous public access road along Colma Creek south of San Francisco, which would also serve as storm surge absorbing infrastructure. The plan aims to reduce the impacts of flooding by using a network of greenways and municipal parks to restore native ecologies. These areas would manage runoff from existing neighborhoods, creating new open public spaces along the way. The plan would revamp the city’s urban waterfront and make restorative changes to Orange Memorial Park.

The project team includes Lotus Water, Civic Edge, HATCH, Brown & Caldwell, Idyllist and Page & Turnbull.

View of the Islias Hyper-Creek proposal. (Courtesy of BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team)

Hyper Stream Islands

BIG, ONE and Sherwood have teamed up for Isle Hyper Creek

Vision, a plan that aims to restore the native landscapes around the stream while creating new nodes of water town planning. The team plans to transform vast expanses along the creek into natural habitats and parks, with new technologies clustered together and industrial hubs scattered throughout the city. The proposal is described as “an opportunity to integrate the existing industrial ecosystem into the next economy”.

The design team also includes Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, The Dutra Group, and Stanford University.

Proposed view of the community planning effort undertaken through the People’s Plan. (Courtesy of Permaculture + _ Social Equity Team)

Design our own solutions

The Permaculture and Social Equity team proposes to use social design as a way to build a vision for Marin City, a diverse working-class enclave located just north of San Francisco. The team’s social design project involved significant community engagement and is focused on equity, place creation, and public ownership.

The team is made up of Pandora Thomas, Antonio Roman-Alcala, the Urban Permaculture Institute, Ross Martin Design, Alexander J. Felson and the Yale School of Architecture.

View of the proposed urban areas in San Rafael. (Courtesy of the Bionic team)

Raising San Rafael

The Elevate San Rafael plan proposed by the Bionic team which proposes to reorganize the small town of San Rafael, drawing its edges from flood-prone shores while building higher altitudes with dense housing and public infrastructure. The proposal would reallocate underutilized land into floodplains flanked by housing, add floating recreational islands to the bay, and create artificial reefs along the bay’s bottom.

The plan proposes to combine “proven approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial and infrastructural agenda” as a means of adequately planning the city’s future. The team is made up of landscape architects Bionic, WXY, PennDesign, Michael Yarne, Enterprise, Moffatt & Nichol, WRA, RMA, SF State, Baycat, Studio for Urban Projects, RAD Urban and KMA.

For more information on the proposals, see the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge website.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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