By Alastair Bland

On the south face of San Bruno Mountain, giant white letters read “South San Francisco: The Industrial City.” According to Richard Mullane, urban designer and Resilient by Design team member of HASSELL+, “that sign has given this city a massive identity problem.” As a part of the challenge to redesign a Bay Area more resilient to sea level rise, HASSELL+ has focused on the urban core of South San Francisco, currently a noisy mess of boulevards, freeways, and warehouses that have all but suffocated Colma creek. “If we simplified our project down to one thing, it would be that they need more parks, especially along the creek,” says Mullane. They also hope to line the creek with native vegetation and a cycling-walking path, helping to make the small but congested city into a more bikeable or walkable place. For Cherbowsky Corkdidi of San Bruno Mountain Watch, the Resilient by Design project has the alluring potential not only to improve the city’s resilience but also to restore an ailing creek. “The mountain is our resource,” he says. “We just need to break up the concrete.”

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South San Francisco: Colma Creek Collect and Connect

By Alastair Bland

On the south face of San Bruno Mountain, giant white letters read “South San Francisco: The Industrial City.” According to Richard Mullane, urban designer and Resilient by Design team member of HASSELL+, “that sign has given this city a massive identity problem.” As a part of the challenge to redesign a Bay Area more resilient to sea level rise, HASSELL+ has focused on the urban core of South San Francisco, currently a noisy mess of boulevards, freeways, and warehouses that have all but suffocated Colma creek. “If we simplified our project down to one thing, it would be that they need more parks, especially along the creek,” says Mullane. They also hope to line the creek with native vegetation and a cycling-walking path, helping to make the small but congested city into a more bikeable or walkable place. For Cherbowsky Corkdidi of San Bruno Mountain Watch, the Resilient by Design project has the alluring potential not only to improve the city’s resilience but also to restore an ailing creek. “The mountain is our resource,” he says. “We just need to break up the concrete.”

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Resilent by Design Bay Area Challenge

The Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge (2017-2018) invited nine teams to design innovative shoreline adaptations to rising sea levels at nine sites around the San Francisco Estuary. The visions provided by this pre-disaster challenge — modeled on the post-disaster Rebuild by Design challenge in New York that followed superstorm Sandy — are powerful, silo-crossing conversation starters for a region now working to prepare low-lying communities, creeks, habitats, and infrastructure for a bigger Bay.