If carbon emissions halted tomorrow, global temperatures would still warm nearly 1°C, the polar ice caps and glaciers would continue to melt, sea levels would rise about one foot by the end of the century, and storm events would continue to intensify. While it is largely true that the best investment in adaptation is through mitigation, humanity has already emitted too much carbon into the atmosphere to avoid investing in protective infrastructure, resettlement, and the broader suite of climate adaptation tools.

This collection of projects illustrates a variety of ways to rethink and creatively deploy the instruments of climate adaptation around the United States.

Rooted in Chicago
Chicago, IL

Focusing on a historically under-invested and redlined neighborhood, Rooted In Chicago proposes social and economic equity through increasing urban tree canopy. Comprised of three distinctive programs - including tax incentives, an arborist work program, and a green streets initiative - the program aims to radically expand the existent city-led masterplan. With a focus on equity distribution and environmental justice, Rooted In Chicago specifically calls for active community participation, empowering residents in the greening of their own city.

Authors: Jeffrey Haussler, Ellie Frey, Michael McCoy, Roshni Nair
Institution: The Ohio State University
Instructors: Ethan Mcgory and Paula Meijerink

Flexible Grounds: Multifunctional Forest Infrastructure System
Leavenworth, WA

Forest health in the Pacific Northwest has been in decline due to decades of fire suppression and mismanagement practices, leaving forests at high risk of damage by disease, insects, and wildfire. This project proposes a multifunctional system of forest infrastructure that integrates the historically separated practices of fire management, forest thinning, and restoration. Using Leavenworth, WA, as a pilot site, it also calls for significant public-facing recreation and education programs, integrating communities into the care of their forests.

Authors: Bingjian Liu, Yiru (Mila) Wang
Institution: The University of Pennsylvania
Instructor: Nicholas Pevzner

Edge of Paradise: Landscape Strategies for Living with Fire
Paradise, CA

Drawing heavily on landscape ecology and the indigenous lineage of prescribed burning, as well as community-guided design, this project envisions a series of wildfire buffering schemes designed to leverage the co-benefits of woodland fuels reduction, agricultural production, renewable energy, and recreational programming. Situated on a 90,000 acre regional network of patches and corridors within and around Paradise, California, the project explores the possibilities of equitable financing schemes for rebuilding post-disaster communities.

Authors: Jonah Susskind, Alison Ecker, Kapp Singer, Sergio Lima
Firm: SWA Group

Resilient East Oakland: Wetlands, a tunnel, & a land trust
Oakland, CA

Located in East Oakland, a historically disinvested community with serious environmental justice issues, the Resilient East Oakland project proposes the tunnelling of interstate 880 to act as catalyst for the construction of accessible park space, affordable housing, and the additional deeding of land back to Ohlone ownership. Decarbonization goals, achieved through solar microgrids, newly planted trees, and expanded wetland, tie into expansive justice goals and jobs creation.

Author: Anna Cich
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Instructors: Kristina Hill and Deni Ruggeri

Centered on the historic erasure of sacred Ohlone shell-mound sites in the Bay Area, this project proposes the return of 135 acres of land to the Ohlone people. The project also calls for job creation and decarbonization through the remediation of contaminated soils in the area, the construction of affordable housing and green spaces, as well as a cut-and-cover tunnel for Interstate 580, allowing existing residents access to the waterfront and providing protection from flooding.

Author: Claire Geneste
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Instructors: Kristina Hill and Deni Ruggeri

Utilizing the technological advancements of flood infrastructure, this project calls for the construction of a super-dike, along with an overflow channel for stormwater and high creek flows and wetland and oyster reef habitat creation. Located in San Rafael, California, the project proposes the addition of green space, an increase in tree density, and improvements of bikeway and walkway connectivity, as well as the construction of new, resilient, multi-family units.

Authors: Yilin Li and Yuetian Wang
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Instructors: Kristina Hill and Deni Ruggeri