Issue 575 Spring 2020

Safety First

Improving hazard resilience in the Bay Area

SPUR Report
Safety First Report Cover

The San Francisco Bay Area is both a treasured place and a hazardous environment where flooding, wildfires and earthquakes are common today. These hazards are likely to become more frequent, larger and more damaging as climate change puts the region’s people, built environment and natural habitats at risk. As a region exposed to multiple hazards, how can we manage for all of them at the same time? And what can we achieve as a region that we cannot get done as individual cities and counties acting alone?

Today, most of the policy tools the region has to manage hazards and assure safety are not designed for changing risks or for a growing urban and interdependent region. One community’s actions to increase resilience — or its failure to act — can affect its neighbors and the region as a whole. Failing to plan regionally means that resilience investments might not make us as safe as we think. SPUR makes 12 policy recommendations for how the Bay Area can improve data and information gathering, codes and standards, community planning and funding for resilience to multiple hazards.