Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Resilient and Equitable Urbanism by Design: Insights from the Collaborative Process to Reimagine the SF Bay Area
by Mendler, Sandra, D.Prof., University of Southern California, 2019, 445; 27549359
Abstract (Summary)

Climate change impacts are increasing in the SF Bay Area (Thorne, Wraithwall and Franco 2018; Ackerly et al. 2018; Ekstrom and Moser 2012), demanding investment to adapt to sea level rise and driving a focus on a broad set of resilience strategies. At the same time, the surging Bay Area economy is fueling a housing crisis, increasing economic inequality, gentrification and displacement (McKinsey Institute 2016; Samara 2016; Florida 2017; Moskowitz 2017; Storper 2018; Bay Area Council Economic Institute 2018). The SF Bay Area will require transformation of social and ecological systems to provide protection, nurture a thriving and inclusive economy, and deliver essential ecosystem services to support communities now and into the future.

This project is about the potential for sustainable, equitable social-ecological transformation of the SF Bay Area, and where to start to get there. Nine case studies from the recent Resilient by Design, Bay Area Challenge (RbD) offer tangible examples of the positive transformation that is possible and the community-based processes, and economic and governance tools that are needed to achieve it. The research explores three key questions: First, what was learned from the RbD Challenge that will help communicate the challenges of resilience and equity, and build support for needed changes to design, planning and public policy? Second, how can the diverse ideas developed by the RbD Challenge be synthesized into a framework to help guide future Bay Area projects? And third, what are the key leverage points for positive change?

The RbD case studies are rooted in real places and communities – illustrating physical form and a rich community process – and demonstrating significant co-benefits. From these projects, an expanded design framework has been developed, with a graphic tool called the “Transformation Dashboard,” which tracks benefits in terms of six forms of capital – physical, natural, human, social, cultural and economic – and organizes them within four quadrants representing adaptation and mitigation of urban and social challenges. Finally, I conclude that physical design and planning ideas are not sufficient on their own to address the urgent challenges in the SF Bay Area, and offer six policy recommendations.

1. Create ‘Priority Resilience Areas’ for targeted investment

2. Identify key demonstration projects in under-invested areas

3. Pilot new models for community stabilization and wealth building

4. Develop regional resilience vision to protect and restore watershed assets

5. Create multi-jurisdiction resilience fund as a regional wealth fund

6. Promote community partnership process

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mazmanian, Daniel M
Commitee: Blanco, Hilda, Natoli, Deborah
School: University of Southern California
Department: Public Policy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sustainability, Urban planning, Public policy
Keywords: Equitable development, Resilience framework, Resilient by design Bay Area challenge, Sustainable planning, Sustainable transformation, Urban climate adaptation
Publication Number: 27549359
ISBN: 9781658453240
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