Bigger Bay Ecotropolis
This project aims to spread – and ultimately bring to life – a vision for a far more liveable and resilient San Francisco Bay Area, one that can also be applied to other coastal and flood-sensitive metro regions across the globe.
The Bigger Bay Ecotropolis vision contains three core ideas:
The “ecotropolis” concept itself. Today’s metropolitan areas, largely taken over by car-driven low-density sprawl, can be rearranged by selecting the most lively pedestrian-friendly centers, contracting and densifying them, and re-introducing open space recovered from the intervening sprawl. Natural landscapes, waterscapes and productive agriculture can in this way be woven in-between the centers, into close proximity with where we live and thrive. Over time:
Downtowns become ecocities
Major district centers become ecotowns
Neighborhood centers become ecovillages
These centers transform into habitats designed around the human body and our physical, social and spiritual needs, rather than the car’s demand for land and energy at the expense of open space, biodiversity, productive soils, and our global climate.
Artificial mounds of earth in areas prone to flooding. This present-day response to rising seas and increasing storm severity goes back 4,500 years to the Sumerian cities of Ur – the oldest on the planet - in the frequently flooded valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Even in today's civilization, ancient innovations are often the most instructive: simply raise cities at least 20' above base water levels. Clearly, much less simple is the actual path to achieving this with our existing cities - but it will be even less so when they are already underwater.
“Synergy” - the mutiplying (rather than simply additive) effect of two or more good things happening together. The combination of pedestrian-oriented density and elevated platforms will inevitably produce and support a variety of other innovative features, creating even more sustainable urban environments and lifestyles.
The densification of today's sprawling cities into multiple elevated centers is not just an adaptation to floods and rising seas but also a means of significantly reducing the problem in the first place - radically diminishing, through the reduction of automobile-oriented development, one of the most significant drivers of climate change.