San Francisco Bay Area, USA

Uniting the Best Local and Global Minds to Work Towards a More Resilient Future

Launched in May 2017, Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge will prepare the Bay Area for the effects of climate change, released an open call for community leaders, local elected officials, national experts and residents to come together and address this critical issue before disaster strikes.

In a year long challenge, teams of engineers, architects, designers and other experts will work alongside community members to identify critical areas throughout the Bay Area and propose exciting, new, community-based solutions that will strengthen our region’s resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding and earthquakes.

From the 51 teams representing 240 local, national, and global experts, ten teams were chosen in July 2017 to be part of this effort.  

Marking a major milestone, the international interdisciplinary design teams revealed their preliminary research findings in November 2017. The proposals were the result of an intensive research stage where each team, composed of architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, and other experts, spent 3 months exploring the Bay Area, from Coyote Creek in San Jose to Sears Point in Sonoma. They gained a deeper perspective of the region's diversity, culture, and range of typologies. The teams visited over 50 sites selected by the public as the most vulnerable ecological systems and bayfront communities in the region.

The proposals focused on a host of resilience challenges ranging from fluvial flooding, to the daily chronic challenges of inequity, housing and transportation. The 32 submitted proposals put forth comprehensive strategies that include proposed ferry lines and a new cross bay tunnel; decking over infrastructure to create flood barriers, open spaces and area for housing; addressing regulatory changes on natural sediment which could be used as a resource in flood mitigation; repurposing industrial land for flood protection, housing and jobs; and innovative strategies for recharging groundwater.

Each of the teams are now being paired with local communities to begin to collaboratively design their projects.  The teams will release their final proposals in May 2018.

This work builds on the 100 Resilient Cities resilience strategies of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and uses the Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition as a model.

To stay up to date with this effort, please visit

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