Final Winning Design Concepts Released for Resilience by Design's Bay Area Challenge

One year after the launch of Resilient by Design's Bay Area Challenge, led by TLS Landscape has presented the final nine design concepts. The Bay Area Challenge launched with a call to action to "bring together local residents, community organizations, public officials and local, national, and international experts to develop innovative solutions that will strengthen our region's resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes." The idea formulated as a “blueprint for resilience” that can be replicated and utilized locally and globally. Other urban challenges will also be addressed, including housing, transport, health and economic disparity as a means of not just protecting the current regions, but strengthening them.

The elite, collaborative teams include world-renowned designers like BIG, Mithun and HASSELL+.

Read on for more about each of the final design concepts.

Final Winning Design Concepts Released for Resilience by Design's Bay Area Challenge - More Images+ 41

The Estuary Commons: People, Place, and Path Forward - All Bay Collective. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

The Estuary Commons: People, Place, and Path Forward

All Bay Collective

San Leandro Bay

From the architects - 

To protect local neighborhoods and restore native habitats, All Bay Collective reimagines the shoreline of 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. The All Bay Collective worked closely with eight community organizations to move community groups from the margins to the center of the design and planning process.

Islais-Creek - Hyper Creek - BIG + ONE + Sherwood. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

Islais-Creek - Hyper Creek

BIG + ONE + Sherwood

City of San Francisco: Bayview-Hunters Point, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill

From the architects - 

Islais Creek - Hyper-Creek is a vision for the area where ecology and industry co-exist in harmony.

The BIG + ONE + Sherwood unveiled six proposed pilot projects, developed together with stakeholders and local communities, to kickstart a long-term process toward realizing the overall vision. At the center of their proposal is a large park with a restored tidal creek system and soft shoreline shares the area with maritime functions, light manufacturing, and logistics that have formed the area’s economic backbone for decades. The park plays an important role in building physical and social resilience: it retains, conveys and cleans water, protecting the surrounding neighborhoods while providing amenities and benefits to the community.

Elevate San Rafael - BionicTeam. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

Elevate San Rafael


San Rafael, Marin County

From the architects - 

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.

The Grand Bayway - Common Ground. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

The Grand Bayway

Common Ground

San Pablo Bay, Sonoma & Napa County

From the architects - 

State Highway 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, Fraser Shilling 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 bikes, runners, kayaks, campers, and fishermen, the Grand Bayway will become a Central Park for more 21st century sensibilities in rapidly expanding North Bay communities.

Collect & Connect - Resilient South City - HASSELL+. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

Collect & Connect - Resilient South City


South San Francisco, San Mateo County

From the architects - 

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 the Orange Memorial Park to a new public park at the shoreline.

Designing Our Own Solutions - P+SET. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

Designing Our Own Solutions

P+SET (Permaculture and Social Equity Team)

Marin City, Marin County

From the architects - 

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.

Unlock Alameda Creek - Public Sediment. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

Unlock Alameda Creek

Public Sediment

Alameda Creek, Alameda County

From the architects - 

Unlock Alameda Creek is an implementable project that links Alameda Creek with its historic baylands.  By reconnecting sediment flows from Alameda Creek to the marshes and mudflats at the Bay’s edge, the proposal creates protective ecological infrastructure that adapts to sea level rise. It provides a sustainable supply of sediment to bay marshes and mudflats for sea level rise adaptation, reconnects migratory fish with their historic spawning grounds, and introduces a network of community spaces that reclaim the creek as a place for people, building an ethos and awareness around our public sediment resources.

ouR-HOME - The Home Team - Mithun. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design


The Home Team - Mithun

Richmond, California

From the architects - 

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.

South Bay Sponge - The Field Operations Team. Image Courtesy of Resilient by Design

South Bay Sponge

The Field Operations Team

San Mateo and Santa Clara County

From the architects - 

The “Sponge” is a concept for using nature and natural systems as a primary tool for climate adaptation and resiliency in the South Bay, inspired by both the historic function of the region’s inter-tidal marshlands as flood protection, as well as by the remarkable efforts to restore the South Bay Salt Ponds. The potential of a large-scale assemblage of remnant marshlands, newly restored salt ponds and newly constructed wetlands as the core component of a regional flood protection strategy is at once radically innovative, but also resonant with the South Bay landscape today. In addition to addressing climate adaptation, the South Bay Sponge can give the landscapes of the South Bay a powerful and legible identity.

Project descriptions and News via: Resiliency by Design.

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About this author
Cite: Collin Abdallah. "Final Winning Design Concepts Released for Resilience by Design's Bay Area Challenge" 23 May 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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