Greenbelt Guardian Outing at Reinhardt Park in Oakland (2022). Credit: Daniela Ades/Greenbelt Alliance

Alviso and Coyote Creek. Credit: Karl Nielsen.jpg

Prescribed Burn performed by CAL Fire at TomKat Ranch in Pescadero. Credit: Karl Nielsen/Greenbelt Alliance

Urban greening and housing. Credit: Karl Nielsen/Greenbelt Alliance

Ride The Line bike ride outing in Antioch and Brentwood (2016). Credit: Greenbelt Alliance

Farmer at TomKat Ranch, in Pescadero. Credit: KarlNielsen/Greenbelt Alliance

Kids playing In Sunnyvale. Credit: Karl Nielsen/Greenbelt Alliance

Greenbelt Guardian Outing at Reinhardt Park in Oakland (2022). Credit: Daniela Ades/Greenbelt Alliance

Greenbelt Alliance
2022 – $20,000 Resilience Hotspots
2007 – $10,000 General Support

About Greenbelt Alliance

The Bay Area has a major problem: we aren’t ready for climate change. Greenbelt Alliance is rising to the challenge by educating people, advocating for bold change and collaborating across sectors to address the climate crisis. Over Greenbelt Alliance’s 65-year history, the organization has stewarded this region’s beautiful natural landscapes while promoting the growth needed for communities to thrive for generations to come. As a result of this work, almost 3.3 million acres of the Bay Area’s nine counties are protected open spaces.

Today, Greenbelt Alliance leverages its expertise in land-use policy advocacy and regional collaboration to realize a climate-resilient Bay Area. This looks like communities and people thriving in the places they live, work, and play. Staying safe during climate disasters. Connecting with open spaces in new and powerful ways. Suffering less and recovering quickly after the next wildfire, flood, or drought. All thanks to equitable solutions drawing on the powerful role of nature. The path toward this future is complex and more urgent than ever, which is why Greenbelt Alliance focuses on data-driven and innovative policy solutions while fostering much-needed regional collaboration to plan and invest in resilient communities.

Over the last seven years alone, Greenbelt Alliance has protected over 70,000 acres of open space lands from development. These lands provide critical resources for worsening climate impacts by serving as natural buffers during wildfires, providing groundwater during drought, and offering refuge during uncertain times. Greenbelt Alliance has also spurred the approval of over 19,000 new homes during the same seven-year span through the Climate SMART—Sustainable, Mixed, Affordable, Resilient, Transit-Oriented—Development Program. This SMART development creates communities in balance with nature, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing resilience to climate-related risks. 

Bay Area Resilience Hotspots Project

Across the Bay Area, there is a need for prioritizing nature-based climate resilience projects to protect communities that are most vulnerable to climate change—in ways that have multiple benefits to habitat, open space, biodiversity, recreation, and more. Through the Bay Area Resilience Hotspots project, Greenbelt Alliance is bringing together climate, sprawl development, and social vulnerability data and convening local stakeholders to collaboratively identify pathways to increase investment in on-the-ground resilience initiatives. Through a community-driven process, Greenbelt Alliance is advancing planning and policy solutions co-created with resident voices and bringing people together with local government to ensure underrepresented members of the community have the opportunity to shape the future of their city or county. The Bay Area Resilience Hotspots initiative leverages collaboration and data to enable cities and communities to build consensus on resilience priorities that not only prioritize conservation, but also social and economic factors that are key to crafting powerful climate solutions. Ultimately, this work will increase land protection and stewardship in ways that enhance biodiversity and build equitable resilience to climate change across the Bay Area.

Methodology and Outcomes

Through a robust spatial analysis process, Greenbelt Alliance has compiled regional data to identify opportunities for nature-based solutions that will allow us to respond to wildfire, flooding, and extreme heat events. This work was informed by creating methodologies that incorporate not only physical features of a place like climate and sprawl risk, but also socioeconomic factors that can make some populations more vulnerable to climate hazards. This process was guided by a diverse group of technical advisors who reviewed methodology and data and provided feedback on best practices. 

Using this mapping and data, Greenbelt Alliance is partnering with local leaders to understand the context on-the-ground and co-create priority actions. Climate adaptation and resilience must be locally appropriate and supported by community leaders. Central to the Bay Area Resilience Hotspots project is the development of strong local partners and stakeholders to drive this vital work forward—providing geographically-specific knowledge and expertise that is critical to adequately interpreting and contextualizing data and collaborating on multi-benefit solutions. Greenbelt Alliance is partnering with locally rooted organizations, community leaders, and key stakeholders to center past and ongoing resilience efforts, document priorities for adaptation, create shared narratives around data, and develop pathways towards resilience that meet joint goals and priorities. For each hotspot location, a Community Resilience Profile will present these shared objectives for a broader audience.

Community Resilience Profiles are easy-to-understand narratives that will be used to build support and focus resources on priority hotspots locations. Greenbelt Alliance is sharing the stories of these priority hotspots through a dedicated webpage and interactive map for anyone to use. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to advance on-the-ground resilience investments throughout the Bay Area. These resources can be used for advocates to promote climate resilient policies, enable local coalitions to develop project concepts and apply for funding, and build overall support for resilience action.