ABC presents ideas for “Living in the Edge” at RBD mid-term critique


On March 29, team members from the All Bay Collective (ABC) participated in the mid-term critique for Resilient By Design’s (RBD) Bay Area Challenge at San Francisco’s Autodesk Gallery. The event provided a valuable opportunity for all ten teams participating in the regionwide challenge to gain feedback on their preliminary resilience strategies from peers, community representatives, and RBD’s panel of experts.

At the event, ABC advocated for an adaptive, collaborative, and equitable approach to resilience in the San Leandro Bay area. As Claire Bonham-Carter of AECOM noted, “We need to move from living ON the edge of disaster, to living IN the edge in order to adapt and change.” To ABC and its community collaborators, living in the edge not only emphasizes adaptability, but also stresses the importance of community-designed engagement processes and co-created resilience strategies that front-load social equity benefits.

Jamie Philips of CMG recapped what the team had learned to date, highlighting challenges ranging from vulnerable transportation and severed ecological connections, to the exponential impact projected when considering the combined effects of sea level rise, emerging ground water, and liquefaction. She also noted the extraordinary level of community advocacy and leadership in East Oakland and Alameda, which is helping to strengthen neighborhood investment, stem the tide of displacement, and deliver a more vibrant future to residents.

Chris Guillard of CMG built on the team’s lessons learned by proposing preliminary near-term tactics for protecting San Leandro Bay neighborhoods from sea level rise. These scenarios included enhancing the roadways, trails, and channels around the bay to provide greater flooding protection, as well as restoring and expanding bay-adjacent parklands and wetlands to better absorb rising tides. Chris also noted the possibility of major, catalytic local projects like the A’s Stadium and transportation improvements to connect regional economies, generate local wealth, and further resilience goals.

Reflecting the collaborative ethos of ABC, Janette Kim of California College of the Arts emphasized that the project’s legacy would be its engagement process and relationships, not any one single master plan. As she noted, “We believe that building resilience means designing not just the physical environment, but our very process of decision-making.” In this spirit, ABC designed the “In It Together” game and “Community Resilience Investment Decision-Making Tool” to help community members evaluate potential resilience strategies and steward future projects. Janette also explained the Resilient Equity Hubs (REHBs) framework, highlighting local investment strategies like community benefits zoning, eco-districts, and community land trusts.

Stephen Engblom, Project Director from AECOM, closed ABC’s mid-term presentation by highlighting that many stakeholders are currently engaged in or about to start important work that will enhance individual components of San Leandro Bay communities. “If each stakeholder commits to collaborate with another stakeholder, in even a slight way, the shift in perspective and the cumulative impact will be transformative.” He closed with a vision of the bay that evolves the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline into a unifying commons for all communities and stakeholders, stressing the importance of continued collaboration to catalyze short-term results, create long-term value, and transform San Leandro Bay into “a resilient, equitable, economic, and environmental paradigm of how we can live IN the edge together.” 

- Nick Busalacchi

Jake Herson