Oakland's Plan for Social, Economic, and Environmental Resiliency

Income inequality, housing affordability, and systemic racism join sea-level rise as key issues in Oakland's vision for urban resilience.

1 minute read

November 2, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

Port of Oakland

cdrin / Shutterstock

Like many resilience strategies, the Resilient Oakland Playbook outlines plans to prepare aging infrastructure for the drought conditions, increased wildfires, and sea-level rise that will likely impact the California city in the coming years.

But while climate impacts might be where some plans stop, Oakland has taken the approach that social and racial equity, an inclusive economy, and citizen empowerment are also crucial to the city’s overall sustainability.

"Our greatest barriers to resiliency are addressing our day-to-day social stresses, including equitable access to quality jobs, education, affordable housing, community safety and better infrastructure," Chief Resiliency Officer Kiran Jain told Next City.

Oakland does address these problems individually: The city has a goal of producing zero waste by 2020. It has taken steps to tackle its housing crisis, and recently launched its first Department of Transportation, which will take a complete streets approach to transportation planning. The state is also developing a regional plan to address sea-level rise in the Bay Area. The new "playbook" serves to connect separate departments under a common framework.

It is an element of the city’s participation in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program, which provides cities worldwide technical support and funding for resiliency programs. Oakland hired its first chief resiliency officer through 100RC in 2014.

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