San Francisco's Vision for Seismic and Social Resilience

The progressive city hopes to integrate economic, community, and climate resiliency measures in future projects.

2 minute read

November 7, 2017, 1:00 PM PST

By Elana Eden

Sea Level

Tom Hilton / Flickr

The Planning Report looks at major resilience initiatives in San Francisco through an interview with City Administrator Naomi Kelly, beginning with upgrades to the century-old seawall that protects some of the city's most iconic—and most lucrative—destinations.

San Francisco was the first U.S. city to appoint a chief resilience officer through the 100 Resilient Cities program, and in that spirit, Kelly's approach incorporates the experiences of other placesFor example, following the earthquake in Mexico City, where a school collapse killed more than 20 people, San Francisco has turned its attention to school buildings—specifically private schools, which were exempt from previous retrofit ordinances. And from Hurricane Katrina, Kelly says, SF learned about "the resilience of neighborhood networks."

"We realized that, after a major disaster, all of our public and private utilities need to be talking to one another. We set up a Lifeline Council, which meets regularly, made up of all the city agencies and private utilities—all the energy, gas, and telecom companies—so that we all know exactly who to call within those agencies when an emergency hits."

Other recent initiatives out of Kelly's office include the new Office of Cannabis, whose top priorities are equity—repairing damage done to communities of color by the War on Drugs—and sustainability. "We're working to develop sustainable solutions for an industry that is high-energy and water-intensive," Kelly explains. "For example, we want to mandate operators to provide the city with water management plans, descriptions of sustainability methods, and energy-efficiency reporting."

Thursday, October 26, 2017 in The Planning Report

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