North Richmond: Legible landscapes grow real change


This shore was once a rich and complex set of ecosystems through tidal and fresh water influences. From Point Pinole on the east (ridge of the Hayward Fault) to Point Richmond on the west (ridge of the Point Richmond Fault) tidal wetlands, multiple fresh water stream deltas, coastal prairies, and rich eel grass beds stretched from end to end. These supported huge populations of wildlife both on land and in the water. Native Americans lived comfortably within these shore areas and left substantial shell mounds all along the Richmond shoreline. This set of proposals seeks to exploit sea level rise to find a way back to the human health and biological fertility that have been lost as industry took over this shore in the last hundred years. We seek to reconnect the isolated, disadvantaged neighborhoods that have been separated from the Bay and each other by industrial infrastructure. We want to propose resilient housing strategies to maintain the fabric of these communities over the long haul.

The large-scale idea here is to create a new open space, potentially Northshore State Park, an ecosystem complex and open space which stretches from Point Pinole to Point Richmond once again. Many things stand in the way of such a far-reaching undertaking. How do we begin? We begin with involving friends we’ve made who are working productively on the ground right now, getting surprising, important things for their community. This includes people like Toody Maher, founder of Pogo Park(s) in the Iron Triangle, Doria Robinson, director of Urban Tilth farming collective, Whitney Dotson, who lead the restoration of (now) Dotson Marsh.

We see this park starting at Parchester Village / Dotson Marsh with Point Pinole ridge as the “bookend” and progressing west along the shore over time to eventually include even the current refinery. This will depend on land acquisitions, easements, all manner of grants and donors, along with waiting out declining industrial users. But we must communicate both an ambitious vision and the persistence that will be needed. Here are the components we should pursue to get this started:

  • Develop a new ferry landing site at the headland of Point Pinole to link this area to San Pablo Bay
  • Rail crossing land bridges to get people from Parchester Village (among several) to the park along with extending connections west along the shore
  • Major new marsh restoration on major open land just to the west anticipating sea level rise along with restored sediment flows. 
  • Expanding and restoring the riparian and wildlife corridors of both San Pablo and Wildcat Creeks, dropping their levees and recovering normal sediment flows into a potential delta, developing corridor trails from Bay to East Bay hills.
  • Network of ecological research stations and cultural interpretive installations developed with the Exploratorium linked to San Pablo Baywide Collective
  • Phytoremediation sites with poplar groves to begin cleaning industrial soils
  • Proposing affordable new housing prototypes at 3-4 levels on warehouse sites south of the rail – both geotechnically stable and out flood waters that can see the park and Bay and help connect to them with additional rail bridges
  • Urban farming cooperative employing members of the neighborhood and expanding the capacity of Urban Tilth
  • Beginning reconstruction of Richmond Parkway to become geotechnically stable complete street and linear forest connecting neighborhoods along the shore
  • Develop proposals to cap and sculpt current landfill into Mt. San Pablo recreation feature.

Concept Board

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North Richmond

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Common Ground

MEMBERS:
TLS Landscape Architecture | Exploratorium | Guy Nordenson & Assoc | Michael Maltzan Arch| HR&A Advisors | Sitelab Urban Studio | Lotus Water | Rana Creek | Dr. John Oliver | Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley

TLS Landscape Architecture is a critical landscape architecture and urban design practice rooted in the craft of material, respect for communities, and the spirit of collaboration. At the same time, we are rooted in the Bay Area– we know the land and the culture. Collectively our team deftly bridges global awareness and Bay Area expertise. This is a team of exceptional leaders...

MEMBERS:
TLS Landscape Architecture | Exploratorium | Guy Nordenson & Assoc | Michael Maltzan Arch| HR&A Advisors | Sitelab Urban Studio | Lotus Water | Rana Creek | Dr. John Oliver | Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley

TLS Landscape Architecture is a critical landscape architecture and urban design practice rooted in the craft of material, respect for communities, and the spirit of collaboration. At the same time, we are rooted in the Bay Area– we know the land and the culture. Collectively our team deftly bridges global awareness and Bay Area expertise. This is a team of exceptional leaders in their individual disciplines that share a common commitment to working together on this critical issue.

Our team has a foundational understanding of the Bay Estuary environmental gradients, expertise in urban infrastructure strategies for climate change and coastal adaption, on building socially responsive architecture engendered with authentic community development, economic strategies that engage open space, and a unique scientific and artistic understanding for incrementally making landscapes more legible. It is a collective ethos of practical futurism.  Our approach explores the Pacific-Specific, dual dynamic of flooding through incremental sea level rise and the instantaneous seismic risk of these same lands.  Titled Common Ground, we investigate the incremental and instantaneous dynamics of the Bay Area Shoreline through both a top-down and bottom-up perspective.

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