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Rather than wait for a natural disaster, the San Francisco Bay Area is proactively reimagining a better future by creating a blueprint for resilience that harnesses Bay Area innovation and serves as a model for communities around the world.

Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge is a collaborative research and design project that brings together local residents, public officials and local, national and international experts to develop innovative solutions to the issues brought on by climate change that our region faces today. 

In a yearlong challenge, teams of engineers, architects, designers and other experts will work alongside community members to identify critical areas throughout the Bay Area and propose exciting, new, community-based solutions that will strengthen our region’s resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding and earthquakes. 

The result will be 10 new implementable projects that offer an imaginative and collaborative approach to resilience. By seizing the critical need to address climate change as an opportunity to bring about a stronger, safer Bay, we are protecting shoreline communities and preparing for the local challenges brought on by sea level rise.

Challenge Launch

The Challenge Launch included the release of the Design Brief as well as an open call for Site Ideas. This call was an opportunity to identify the Bay Area’s most vulnerable ecosystems, infrastructure, and communities along the shoreline. Community members, local government, and interested organizations to shared Bay shoreline areas that could benefit from creative and innovative design energy.


May 31

June 16

July 7    

Late July        

September 10th     

Design Brief issued; open call for site ideas launched.

Information session for potential bidders (in-person and online).

Design Team submissions were due.

Jury reviewed submissions and selected ten Design Teams.

Announcement of the ten selected Design Teams.


Collaborative Research Phase

This phase will be a combination of independent and collaborative research. This is a crucial step towards gaining an adequate understanding of specific needs and vulnerabilities of communities, and ecosystems in order to ultimately produce successful, implementable projects. Tours and programming are scheduled to take place on the dates below in the Bay Area. There will be time built-in during these dates for independent research as well as collaborative learning. Design Teams will receive $100,000 USD at the completion of Collaborative Research Phase. There will be no reimbursable expenses above this amount.


Sept 11 - 15     

Oct 2-6

Oct 16 - 20

Nov 1 - Nov 3

Nov 15

Nov 15 - 22

By Dec 8

East Bay Tour Week

North Bay Tour Week

South Bay Tour Week

San Francisco Week (includes a design critique)

Each Design Team publicly presents three to five Design Opportunities.

Public input on design concepts accepted. Attendance not required.

Research Advisory Committee matches one Design Opportunity to each Team.

Collaborative Design Phase

Design Teams will develop site-specific conceptual design solutions in coordination with community groups and state and local government partners. Design Teams work with local jurisdictions, community leaders and organizations, and Resilient by Design partners and consultants to develop detailed implementation plans. Design Teams will primarily drive the work schedule; however, there will be dates where all the teams come together for midterm critiques, public events, and further learning on topics requested by the teams. These may include issues that are necessary to ensure the success of the ultimate project, such as local regulatory frameworks, public financing, state or federal government programs, etc. Design Teams will receive $150,000 USD at the completion of Collaborative Design Phase. There will be no reimbursable expenses above this amount.