The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

To develop bold solutions, local leaders have launched the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge (RbD). This collaborative design effort brings together local residents, public officials, and national and international design experts. They will create community-based design solutions for ten Bay shore communities to increase their resilience and to adapt to climate change. SFEI scientists are serving as science advisors, translating recent advances and critical findings in shoreline restoration and adaptation to inform the RbD Challenge design teams. Key contributions by SFEI, described below, include conducting a science briefing event, contributing to RbD’s Briefing Book publication and providing feedback on conceptual design approaches through one-on-one consultations with design teams.

Resilient By Design Briefing Book

SFEI staff were major contributors to the Briefing Book for the RbD Challenge.  This served as an introductory guidebook for the 10 design teams for their Sept-November "research" phase of the effort.

Science Consulting to the Design Teams

Thanks to funding by SCVWD, SFEI scientists have been meeting with and providing resources to each of the 10 design teams. We have been successful in helping guide projects towards emphasizing an ecological approach. We hope to be able to continue to meet with the teams, as they enter the "Design" phase, to partner with local leaders to develop a specific concept for a specific Bay shoreline site.

Exploratorium Science Briefing for Resilient By Design

On September 12th, SFEI conducted a two-hour science briefing at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. It was a public event, created to advise the 10 design teams during the "kick-off" week of the Challenge. Over 50 members of the 10 teams attended, along with an additional 150+ community leaders, and as many as 1800 people watched the live video stream. Four SFEI staff each provided a 30 minute presentation. See below for a link to the video. Funding for this event was provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.


2017 to 2018
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Shoreline Resilience
Urban Nature Lab
Location Information