Resilient by Design

Reshaping vulnerable waterfronts

As the United States recovers from one of its most destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons ever, from which hundreds of thousands of people across the Carribbean have already been made homeless, we are reminded of the vulnerability of coastal communities around the world.

What if we could create a new type of waterfront public space to better connect vulnerable communities with the waterfront in daily life – one that delivered new community facilities and services to build social capacity, and that provided for education and stewardship of new ecological assets?

Imagine a waterfront that can actively help manage flood events and treat urban runoff, provide important public places to gather in times of civic celebration and house temporary facilities when disaster strikes.

The Bay Area Challenge

As part of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, we're exploring climate change resilience strategies with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ll look at how to use new tools and technologies, plan safe movement corridors, improve runoff management and public access to the waterfront, and provide better connections to, within and between new waterfront places.

HASSELL is leading one of ten design teams in a collaborative research and design project that responds to the climate impacts that threaten the San Francisco Bay Area’s ecosystems and communities.

The program is tied to The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities network, which aims to support 100 cities to build resilience for the 21st-century.

The project is modeled on New York's Rebuild by Design, which began as a new kind of design competition in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Mapping the communities

We want to design to enhance the lives of Bay Area communities. We aim to deliver places and systems that will perform vital daily – and emergency – functions for those communities while improving their physical and social resilience.

We intend to use data to identify underserved communities that are increasingly vulnerable to disaster caused by climate change. We'll identify opportunity sites through understanding and engaging with waterfront landholding institutions. And we'll align with existing planning strategies by governments, regional agencies and business councils.

HASSELL has been helping to unlock the community, cultural and commercial value of waterfronts in cities around the world. In Sydney, for instance, from natural sites like the Royal Botanic Gardens, to cultural destinations like Darling Harbour, we've been shaping the places that the city's people come to celebrate on the waterfront.

Leading a multi-disciplinary, global team with origins in Australia, the Netherlands and the local Bay Area, we're excited to explore the possibilities in the year-long Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge. 

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