Islais Creek, emerging into the Bay at the southern end of San Francisco, sits between a diverse set of communities and is an important center of food, logistics, and port operations for the City. Flood risk is extreme, following the wide contours of the historic streambed and marsh. The area is encircled by heavy infrastructure and a large Wastewater Treatment Plant. Public access to the waterfront has been improved but is still limited, and Bayview residents want to make sure that jobs tied to industry are maintained.

 For Islais Creek, we propose a dual strategy of protection and retreat – restoring acres of the natural creek along its southern bank, while protecting and densifying logistical activities along the northern piers – bringing vertical warehouses, creative offices, and jobs to the area. The Wastewater Treatment Plant is upgraded and migrated to the waterfront, connected to wetlands for treatment. And Highway 280 is transformed into a green connector for light mobility.

Hyper-Creek

We propose to give more than 300 acres back to Islais Creek to align the channel with its historical floodplain to the south, giving way to naturalized wetlands and making room for the Bay to grow. This partial retreat strategy will allow for adaptive management of coastal and fluvial flood risk and for new strategies to emerge for mitigating the risks of earthquakes and liquefaction. Creek naturalization throughout the watershed will provide increased permeability to slow terrestrial discharges by maximizing infiltration.

New Links

The restored riparian and upland areas will create green corridors that allow for ecosystem services and movement of wildlife and pedestrians. Widening the creek mouth will provide space for more tidal wetlands, offering protection, recreational space, and access to a natural Bay edge for residents. I-280 acts as a sky-connector, re-linking the Bayview neighborhood with areas north – while a dedicated cargo rail line might allow for the most polluting industrial uses in the area to migrate south along the Bay edge spanning from Candlestick Point to Brisbane Lagoon.

Maritime Edge

The 700 acres of industrial area throughout Bayview include approximately 13M sq.ft. of development with floor area ratios (FAR) ranging from approximately 0.3 to 0.8. This existing low density industry could be consolidated along the northern edge of Islais Creek by increasing FAR up to 5.0. This densification would offer up to an additional 5M sq.ft. (18M in total) of linked industrial use within San Francisco, while giving way for green infrastructure, open spaces, and a widened creek.

Infra-Center

With the redevelopment of Islais Creek, there is an opportunity to relocate the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant (SEP) and redefine the way water is managed in the City. We propose to transition the underutilized pier site spanning south of the creek to Heron’s Head as a new site for the SEP, it’s treatment processes re-imagined. Wastewater flows would be sent to a potable reuse facility, taking advantage of state-of-the-art anaerobic bioreactors to reduce energy demands. Flows that are not reused could be treated passively for nutrient removal via a living levee. This reimagined and publicly integrated WWTP of the future would build resilience into water supplies, making room for nature, for residents, and for the city’s continued growth.
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Islais Hyper-Creek

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BIG + ONE + Sherwood

The BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team is co-led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE), and Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood). The team also includes experts from Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, and The Dutra Group. The Team brings together significant international experience in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Bay Area with a variety of experience in designing spaces that are vulnerable to climate events by understanding a region’s economic, political and social environment.

The Team is founded on a shared belief in the power of well-designed...

The BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team is co-led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE), and Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood). The team also includes experts from Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, and The Dutra Group. The Team brings together significant international experience in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Bay Area with a variety of experience in designing spaces that are vulnerable to climate events by understanding a region’s economic, political and social environment.

The Team is founded on a shared belief in the power of well-designed spaces that are connected to their contexts - ecologically, economically, and socially - and overall play a transformative role in the cities where they are located. With a collective commitment to embrace the interconnected, rich, and diverse set of human and non-human ecosystems that comprise the Bay Area, the BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team looks at the city as a Social Ecosystem – one where we can proactively design the links between nature, and culture, between people, and their environment.

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