The Resilient by Design|Bay Area Challenge saw the presentation of 10 proposals designed to strengthen the San Francisco Bay Area’s resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Among the presenters was Hassell+, a multidisciplinary resilience team, which includes engineering/construction firm Brown and Caldwell. The team delivered a proposal designed for San Mateo County, including the area’s Colma Creek, at the Resilient Bay Summit.
“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 Orange Memorial Park to a new public park at the shoreline,” reads the Hassell+ team’s project outline.
The Resilient by Design|Bay Area Challenge is a year-long collaborative research and design project that develops 10 innovative community-based solutions by architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, and other local and international experts. Hassell+ focused on San Mateo County due to its high vulnerability to sea level rise. According to the team, the county’s shoreline could experience up to 1397 mm (55 in.) of sea level rise by 2100; however, once it hits 914 mm (36 in.), roughly 10 percent of the region’s population will be directly affected by sea level rise. As such, the Hassell+ team built their proposal with the goal of connecting residents to their watershed, while also reducing flood risks and protecting the shoreline from sea level rise.
Regarded as the Bay’s industrial city, San Mateo County features major railways and rail lines, which link the city to the region; however, the Hassell+ team notes, these arteries also divide the City and limit residents’ access to the shoreline of the Bay. The team proposes continuous public access along Colma Creek, which they say will achieve all of the project’s goals and effectively create a continuous corridor from the central Orange Memorial Park to a new public park at the shoreline.
Overall, the primary objectives of the community-based design include:
- managing flooding along Colma Creek by widening and greening the canal, as well as creating a sequence of new parks;
- connecting the community along the creek to the shoreline by way of a series of active public spaces, including a new waterfront pool and school;
- upgrading schools to become resilience hubs as well as active community open space resources, while linking them to the creek and each other by new green streets for cycling and water management; and
- extending the restoration of native plants from San Bruno mountain, down across the city’s other green spaces and along the creek to the shoreline.
Additionally, specific initiatives outlined in the team’s strategy include:
- recharging reservoirs to direct stormwater to the aquifer;
- a watershed-wide stormwater collection, reuse, and management network of connected green spaces, schools, and traffic-calmed green streets;
- constructed wetlands and a living levee to naturally treat sewage and protect the shore from sea level rise; and
- enhanced recreational opportunities, including cycling connections, swimming, and recreation.
The jury praised Hassell+ team for their “pragmatic and convincing focus on neighborhood-level interventions from the mountain to the bay.”
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Check out the Collect & Connect–Resilient South City proposal video below, courtesy Hassell Studio.