Bay Area Resilient By Design Challenge

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The challenge:

As flood risks continue to increase due to climate change, including intensified severe storms and sea level rise, organizers in the San Francisco Bay Area began to ask the question, “Can the Bay Area come together and build a more resilient region before a big disaster hits?” The answer wasn’t clear.  Despite the looming threat of climate change and sea level rise, there was no comprehensive regional plan to focus in infrastructure and livelihood protection, climate resilience, and proactive climate-related coastal disaster mitigation in the Bay Area.

What was done?

In 2016, the Bay Area passed a groundbreaking ballot initiative to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for wetland and habitat restoration, flood control and public access along the shoreline. Parallel to this effort, a group of forward thinking regional leaders had been working to develop a proactive regional design challenge modeled after Rebuild by Design. These two efforts inspired the launch of the Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge. In 2017-2018, the Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge brought together teams of scientists, community members, local elected leaders, financial specialists, youth leaders and some of the world’s leading designers to translate advances in research into specific, place-based solutions to flood risk and sea level rise. These innovative ideas address long-term threats, in addition to current challenges, including the essential infrastructure needs of communities on the frontline of sea level rise.

How Bay Area Resilient By Design Challenge continues to tackle this challenge:

The million dollar question (or is it $50 billion dollar question?) on everyone’s mind is where funding will come from to move the design plans forward. The Resilient by Design staff is now focused on working with municipalities, teams, and other regional stakeholders to support the roll out and implementation of these projects around the Bay, and, by doing so, helping chart a way forward to a more resilient future. The effort and ideas generated by the Bay Area Challenge are also being developed into a Resilient by Design book which will include recommendations for next steps at a local, regional and state level that have emerged from this challenge.

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