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San Francisco Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Consequence Assessment


San Francisco Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco

As the City and County of San Francisco’s key Sea Level Rise Strategic Partner, Pathways led the city-wide sea level rise vulnerability and consequence assessment. This assessment was identified as a priority action in the 2016 Sea Level Rise Action Plan, requiring collaboration across all City agencies. The assessment provides information for decision makers, City agencies and departments, and public stakeholders so the City (in collaboration with local communities) can develop, prioritize, and implement adaptation strategies to increase San Francisco’s resilience to sea level rise.

As a subconsultant to CH2M Hill, Pathways worked directly with the San Francisco Planning Department, Port of San Francisco, Office of Resilience and Capital Planning, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and many others. Pathways provided strategic advice and capacity building across the City to develop a comprehensive asset inventory of city-owned assets across 7 sectors (e.g., transportation, water, wastewater, power, public safety, open space, and port assets), and to assess the vulnerability of those assets to sea level rise and coastal flooding using the ten sea level rise scenarios developed for the Adapting to Rising Tides Program. The vulnerability assessments were vetted with each department through a series of workshops. The findings where combined evaluate multi-sector vulnerabilities and consequences, incorporating lessons learned from similar assessments in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the world.

The consequence assessment evaluated four sustainability frames: society and equity, economy, environment, and governance. A citywide Consequence Workshop was held delve deeper into cascading consequences that could inform triggers and thresholds for implementing adaptation strategies.

The report includes a series of eight neighborhood profiles that highlight the unique characteristics of each neighborhood, the local communities, culture, businesses, shoreline characteristics, and the timing of shoreline vulnerabilities and overtopping. The neighborhood profiles also depict the progression of multi-sector vulnerabilities and define the tipping point for each neighborhood (i.e., when large-scale adaptation interventions are likely required).

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