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Resilience By Design University Bay Area

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Bay Area academics, students and practitioners will test and define elements of a shared curriculum for teaching the planning and design of resilience, specifically such that it reflects the challenges and resources in the Bay Area. Our goal is to create a framework that can be used by any academic institution while working to create solutions to real problems, fine tune the understanding of resilience, and meet great people in the field.

The 2-day event will feature a mix of lectures, panel discussions, and workshops and will include practitioners and thought leaders from the fields of architecture, planning, design, engineering, technology, and the social and physical sciences. This makes the event a can’t-miss for academics, practitioners and students interested in an overview of how design can help build resilience.

Oct 7: California College of the Arts, Timken Lecture Hall, San Francisco
9am – 5pm | Panel Discussions

Panel discussions with academics and practitioners.

9:45AM: Welcome

Amy Chester, Rebuild by Design
Mark Donohue, California College of the Arts
Gordon Douglas, New York University, San Jose State University

10:00AM: 100 Resilient Cities Overview

Michael Berkowitz, 100 Resilient Cities

10:15AM - 10:45AM: Conversation on the Meaning of Resilience
Cities have often been shaped by risk and disaster (such as diseases, war, floods, water scarcity, earthquakes and fires). The Bay Area is testament to that. How does this region understand the concept of resilience, and its relationship to mitigation and adaptation, areas in which California has been a front-runner? In a conversation, the term resilience will be discussed from a historical perspective, and explored within the context of the region.

Conversation between Maryam Hariri, Ogilvy Earth, Sr. Advisor FEMA and Klaus Jacob, Columbia University.

11:00AM - 11:30AM: Lecture on the Sociology of Resilience
This lecture will look at the link between the social and the physical embedded in the idea of resilience, and ask the question what this social component means for the production and understanding of risks and stresses, and for how risks are addressed.

Eric Klinenberg, New York University, Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University

11:45AM - 1:00PM: Understanding Risk in Natural and Manmade Systems
The panel will focus on understanding the complex roles of risk, and look at different ways in which a systems perspective helps us understand risk in our cities and landscapes. In this panel we will look at physical, social, organizational aspects of risk in the Bay Area, understand the interdependencies between these aspects, and look at the ability to ‘learn’ and adapt. What does this understanding of cities and landscapes mean for the role of designers? Can design thinking be a form of systems thinking?

George Ban Weiss, University of Southern California
Gordon Douglas, New York University, San Jose State University (moderator)
Kristina Hill, University of California, Berkeley
Janette Kim, California College of the Arts
Brett Milligan, University of California, Davis

1:00PM-2:00PM: Lunch

2:00PM - 2:10PM: Introduction to Resillient by Design Bay Area Challenge

Margie O’Driscoll, Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge
Alexander Zwissler, Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge

2:20PM - 3:30PM: Understanding Challenges and Communicating Possibilities
Building resilience means developing collaborations between designers, scientists and local actors. As much as ‘experts’, communities can help understand risks and vulnerabilities, and help develop solutions. Designers can play a role in that process by using their (visual) tools to inform, facilitate conversations and help shape and communicate shared narratives. This panel will focus on the tools available for designers to analyze and communicate vulnerabilities, to tell stories, and to give communities agency in building resilience.

Brian Beveridge, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
Amy Chester, Rebuild By Design (moderator)
Lewis Knight, Facebook
Cynara Lilly and
Leo Wallach, Rally
Richard Sinkoff, Port of Oakland

3:30PM-3:40PM: Break

3:40PM-5:00PM: New Planning Forms- the Aesthetics of Resilience
Building resilience means working at all scales and timescales simultaneously. It necessitates collaboration between disciplines, and between professionals and communities. It links the social domain and governance to the physical domain. This panel will discuss the ways in which planning and design can deal with complexity, uncertainty, risk and resilience. It will look at different plan forms across the design disciplines, and explore how these new plan forms will ultimately impact our built environment.

Matthijs Bouw, One Architecture, PennDesign (moderator)
Marilyn Jordan Taylor, PennDesign
Jonathan Massey, California College of the Arts
Bry Sarté, Sherwood Institute
Cathy Simon, Perkins+Will


Oct 8: Oakland City Hall
9:30am – 4pm | Hands on Workshop and Prototyping

Design students will come together with practitioners to examine challenges that Northern California cities are facing and prototype solutions.

9:30AM: Breakfast and Registration

10:00AM: Welcome and Overview of the Day

Matthijs Bouw, One Architecture, PennDesign

10:30AM: Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland

10:45: Case Studies in Context

Cases have been prepared from Oakland, San Francisco and the South Bay. Each of the cases, and their resilience context, will be introduced to the plenary. 10 minute presentation by a CRO or a facilitator.

11:15AM - 11:30AM: Break

11:30AM-4:30PM: Design Hackathon

Design students will come together with practitioners to examine challenges that Northern California cities are facing and prototype solutions.

The aim is to design a holistic project for a particular challenge, to understand integrated design thinking, and to align value across multiple physical and social systems.

11:30AM-1PM: Session 1

Session 1 will focus on design instruments for risk and vulnerability assessment and -communication.

How can we use design tools to engage communities in understanding risks and vulnerabilities? How can we use design to demonstrate and optimize resilience values and outcomes?

1PM-2PM: Lunch

2:00PM-3:30PM: Session 2

Session 2 will focus on the physical tools and planning tools necessary to deliver the resilience outcomes.

What physical measures to take to build resilience and plan for adaptation? What role do social systems play? How to combine a long-term vision with concrete steps?

How can the physical components of a project be designed such that they relate well to its governance structure?

3:30PM-4:15PM: Wrap Up


Schedule subject to change.



This event is organized with:

also in partnership with:


Cases have been prepared from Oakland, San Francisco and the South Bay. Each of the cases, and their resilience context, will be introduced to the plenary. 10 minute presentation by a CRO or a facilitator.


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