As we imagine a day on the Richmond Shoreline in the year 2100, we see a livable and wonderful place. Our 2100 Richmond Shoreline has been able to adapt to the rising tides. We have created a multicultural and accepting framework allowing us to build a just, equitable and connected array of neighborhoods, that have interwoven nature into their fabric. Our community and ecosystems are healthy and resilient.
Over the past year, I was fortunate to take part on the Resilient by Design competition as the community liaison for the Mithun Home Team in North Richmond. We were task with imagining our region in the face of catastrophic sea level rise, torrential rains or drought and other climate disasters. If we begin to prepare today for these catastrophic scenarios, what would we do to mitigate or eliminate the impact? Who are the most vulnerable people and how can we make those communities more resilient? Bringing the voices and ideas of the community directly to the design table was critical to the process, ensuring that the projects reflected the needs and values of those who call North Richmond home.
Home is a very powerful word, connecting our house, our neighborhood and the Bay as a whole. As our region faces a housing crisis, thinking about home through the lens of affordable housing, especially in areas that have been systematically excluded, becomes an important element if we want to build an equitable and self-reliant community. With displacement and gentrification growing across our region, it was important to reflect on the impact of investing in areas that have been traditionally excluded from capital improvements and green infrastructure so not to exacerbate these challenges.
The results from the Resilient by Design process was a series of key projects and lines of work that will need to be carried on by local actors, stakeholders and policy makers. Firstly, we have to create a solution to low income housing, layered with new technologies for water management and urban greening associated with housing development. Secondly we have a need to use nature based filters and barriers to prevent catastrophic impacts from flooding. Thirdly, we need to rethink the restoration economy so that communities can generate wealth from the management, installation and maintenance of those projects.
Does these all sounds like community development? I believe it is a new way of thinking about neighborhood development.
Nature based solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters are proven to be a powerful way of creating multi-benefit investments that yield unparalleled resilience results. Natural systems can self-generate and can provide shoreline protection, tidal wave attenuation and flood mitigation as well as provide recreational and health benefits for neighborhoods. However, designs have to be thought with neighborhoods needs in mind so that multi-benefit outcomes can be optimized, jobs created and residents are not displaced.
We look forward to working alongside the community of North Richmond to help realize their vision for the next century. We also celebrate the steps that have been taken so far by the passage of Prop 68 earlier this month which will help fund green infrastructure and multi-benefit projects for the benefit of all communities around the Bay that we call Our Home.
Read the full Home Team report here.