Public Sediment: Unlock Alameda Creek

  • Public Sediment was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a design competition that brings together local residents, public officials, and local, national and international experts to develop innovative solutions to the issues brought on by climate change in the Bay Area.

    Our team, Public Sediment, proposes to invest in ecological infrastructure and its protective value. Yet the Bay area’s ecological infrastructure- its marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges- are at risk. The slow and methodical subsidence of the Bay’s tidal wetlands is a catastrophe of tremendous proportion not just for ecosystems, but for communities. Combined with sea level rise, this subsidence exposes hundreds of thousands of residents and the region’s critical drinking water, energy, and transportation infrastructure to tremendous risk. To creatively adapt to this challenge, our team proposes to focus on sediment, the building block of resilience in the Bay.

    Our team proposes to actively intervene in this ecological transformation by designing with mud. We propose to connect the uplands and the lowlands with a series of sediment actions. We will harvest and retrofit dams, unlock tributary channels, and test new methods of mud placement that use currents to effectively move sediment in the Bay. But this is not enough. We must make sediment public. To do this, we propose a series of connective paths, outdoor mud rooms, and sensing stations, that link vulnerable neighborhoods with the Bay and engage youth in monitoring of the environment—visualizing climate change in their backyards.

    We propose three scales of Public Sediment, each framing a distinct action to catalyze social and ecological resilience, with mud, in the Bay. These projects are called: Pilots for a Future Baythe Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek.