Resilient By Design

Working with community and industry partners including Mithun, HR&A Advisors, Alta Planning + Design, Integral Group, Chinatown Community

Development Corporation, Biohabitats, Moffatt & Nichol, Urban Biofilter and the Resilient Design Institute – Streetwyze led the community-engaged design process for a – to participate in the year-long visioning and collaborative resiliency design challenge. Resilient by Design is a prestigious resiliency design and visioning competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Streetwyze brought together local residents, public officials, and local, national and international experts to develop innovative community-based solutions to strengthen resilience to sea level rise, severe storms flooding and earthquakes. The team’s project centered in North Richmond, a historically African-American and Latinx neighborhood.

In partnership with community, we pioneered an innovative community driven approach to visioning, and developing design solutions to impending climate change challenges.  One of the key takeaways from this work was that that funding community engagement upfront, and community-driven, pre-development integration of projects, makes resiliency investments go farther, more effectively in order to better design and build solutions that provide direct and immediate benefits as well as long term value to the community.

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Oakland Department of Transportation, Planning for Paving

Streetwyze worked in partnership with Fehr & Peers and community groups like Skater Bikes for the City of Oakland Department of Transportation’s Planning for Paving imitative. The Planning for Paving initiative represented a fundamental change in Oakland’s approach to street design and operations, in concert with Oakland’s vision for becoming a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, and livable city. The community-driven transportation planning initiative included six major transportation corridors in East Oakland.  The imitative established a new set of context-sensitive street types for Oakland driven by the community’s input, and include recommendations for minimum lane widths as well as dimensions for the different zones that make up sidewalks. The initiative also feature detailed intersection design guidance on topics ranging from street pavement design to separated bike lanes (cycle track) design at intersections. Streetwyze led community engagement efforts, including development of the engagement strategy, presentations to numerous community groups, communication with different city agencies, and final implementation of the community-driven designs. 

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Google/Aclima, Innovations in Air Quality Sensing

Streetwyze partnered with Google, Aclima, the Environmental Defense Fund, the University of Texas Austin, and other partners on a state-of-the-art project which combined local data with big environmental air quality data in an effort to better understand the relationship between air quality and asthma with low-income communities and communities of color. Streetwyze was the lead agency in collecting local and experiential data on air-quality. Google provided Street View cars that were outfitted with Aclima’s cutting edge air quality sensors to capture “hotspots” and “cool spots” for poor air quality across Oakland. The big pollution data, however, could not tell us why pollution hotspots exist, or if there were sensitive receptors (i.e., schools, daycare, elder facilities, etc.) situated close to hotspots that were actively being used, how they were being used, by whom, and at what time of the day? To address these challenges, we were asked to do a Streetwyze geospatial analysis (SWAG) and “Ground-Truthing” of Google and Aclima’s data. Our SWAG identified previously unknown sources of Black carbon emissions, which contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even birth defects, as well as critical sensitive receptors in the community. Armed with this new layer of environmental intelligence, community-members could better understand and protect themselves from poor air quality in the places that matter most to them. Additionally, this data was used to inform health, transportation, and city planning policy and practice. The innovative project has received local and national attention and was published in Environmental Science & Technology as well as the Aclima blog found here:

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