community action

Engagement, regulations, policy and the adaptation of vulnerable communities into thriving communities

Social Design
We see designing for resilience as a process of social design. By that we mean that we approach community engagement as a catalyst and guiding force for development, seeking a community’s inherent strengths that will help them to adapt, and local interventions to capitalize on these strengths. Creating greater understanding, engagement and investment in climate adaptation within the communities where we introduce strengthening techniques is not only a lasting and achievable goal—it’s the key to securing regional resilience in the decades to come.

Issues of equity and social justice are essential to our team’s approach. Our methods lay the foundation to create results that are equitable, community-based, innovative, implementable and replicable.

Lisa Matthiessen of Urban Fabrick will work with Resilient by Design’s community engagement specialists to foster this effort by using a combination of traditional and alternative outreach approaches to embrace public participation. Particularly in more disadvantaged communities, which we understand to often be the greatest at risk for resiliency, the engagement process begins by identifying the community leaders and introducing ourselves at community events, coffee dates and local neighborhood meetings. Each process will be tailored to the specific community, as time commitments, access to technology, use of social media, and community involvement levels can vary.

We want the ideas to come from the community or be of the community. We don’t have a lot of time. This is not a process that’s going to take a couple of years. We need to figure out how quickly to get involved in the community to get them engaged.
— Lisa Matthiessen

Regulations and Policy
Land use planning and regulation in the Bay Area is a complex mosaic, handled by 101 cities and nine counties which are overseen by five regional agencies. Some land use matters also require permits from a variety of state and federal agencies. Additionally, hundreds of special districts handle specific issues ranging from parks and open space to water supply and sewage disposal.

We will navigate this complex process and take full advantage of coordination opportunities through the key advisory and professional network of Will Travis, a recognized expert in coastal management and a national leader in sea level rise adaptation planning. As a former Executive Director of BCDC, he built a coalition of business, environmental and local government support that led in 2011 to BCDC’s adoption of the nation’s first mandatory policies requiring that new shoreline development projects must address sea level rise. He also served as the senior advisor to the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee, which is now called the Bay Area Regional Collaborative.

The challenge with sea-level rise is that the Bay will get bigger. The BCDC is going to have to pivot and protect the communities around the Bay from the larger bay.
— Will Travis

Our team can utilize a number of highly effective mechanisms to foster intergovernmental cooperation and planning coordination in the Bay Area including key regional agencies such as the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG); the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District); the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTCP); the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC); the overarching Bay Area Regional Collaborative; BCDC’s Adapting to Rising Tides sea level rise adaptation planning program; and CHARG, the San Francisco Bay Region Coastal Hazards Adaptation Resiliency Group.