The footpath in front of the new condo construction on the Grand Marina in Alameda. The condos have raised steps up to their front doors (about 1 foot high), but during a high tide with storm surges water will reach the front doors.

Credit: Myles Boisen

The Rockefeller Foundation Grants $4.6M to Bay Area Leaders to Tackle Climate Change: Overview

The Foundation Brings Model of Award-Winning, “Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition,” to the Bay Area
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Adapted from a press release issued by The Rockefeller Foundation.

The Rockefeller Foundation yesterday announced a $4.6 million grant to a coalition of Bay Area leaders to create the Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge — a competition that will engage regional innovators, community members, developers and policy makers, as well as designers, architects, engineers from around the globe, in developing creative, realistic and long-lasting infrastructure solutions for climate and seismic challenges confronting the San Francisco Bay Area. This innovative challenge is modeled after the award-winning Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition, which was pioneered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation.

Bay Area: Resilient by Design will spur innovative infrastructure solutions for Bay Area communities, so they can withstand and thrive in the face of growing climate change-related and seismic threats, while also addressing housing and income disparity challenges. The Bay Area contest will officially kick off this March once the core staff team is in place. Teams made up of designers, architects, ecologists, developers and infrastructure finance experts will be invited to apply this spring, and a jury made up of prominent leaders in design, science and community engagement ultimately will select 10 teams to develop visionary, realistic and replicable resiliency strategies for 10 different locations around the region. The final designs are expected to be completed by the summer of 2018. Each solution must help communities in the nine counties touching the San Francisco Bay to adapt to the impact of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and/or seismic vulnerabilities.

MTC is a partner in the effort through its role in the Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC), which provided leadership in securing the Rockefeller Foundation grant and serves on the Executive Committee for the effort.  BARC’s other partner regional agencies are the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). MTC has been a major contributor to the research and science conducted to date by BCDC and other key partners, and will host the Bay Area’s Resilient by Design project staff. 

The $5.8 million Bay Area: Resilient by Design competition will be funded primarily through the $4.6 million contribution from the Rockefeller Foundation, which also provided financing for the Rebuild by Design competition that took place in the Tri State region around New York City. BARC and other partners will seek additional funding for the Bay Area competition from both public and private sector sponsors.

Photo credit: Myles Boisen

King tide at Coast Guard Island in Oakland. A boat sits sinking below the water, and the water level reaches nearly the underside of the bridge.

The 10 locations on which the Resilient by Design competition will focus will be selected from among some 30 Bay Area places identified as highly vulnerable to flooding and rising sea levels. 

Oakland's Fifth Avenue Marina at king tide. This access gate is underwater.

The executive director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative, the president of The Rockefeller Foundation, the managing director of Rebuild by Design, the chair of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the president of 100 Resilient Cities weigh in on the Bay Area: Resilient by Design competition.

The Grand Marina's footpath in Alameda. The new condos have raised steps up to their front doors (about 1 foot high), but during a high tide with storm surges residents will have to walk through water to get to their front doors.

Background information on The Rockefeller Foundation and associated programs.

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