The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was awarded $1.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) for 2016 and 2017 to boost region wide investment in resilience and recovery from earthquakes, fires, climate change impacts and related natural disasters. These funds will leverage 2015 grants from FEMA for $300,000, along with an $86,000 U.S. Geological Survey grant, and a $75,000 grant from the Sustainable Growth Council. "ABAG will have resources to help cities and counties improve housing resilience and work on the social and economic challenges associated with earthquakes, fires, and climate change impacts," says Ezra Rapport, ABAG Executive Director.
Key areas to be addressed through the grants include planning for safe sustainable housing, developing updated building codes, and supporting financial incentives for home-owners to retrofit. The focus of the Rockefeller grant is to ensure information exchange among the three cities that are part of Rockefeller's international 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative and to establish a linkage between the 100RC cities (San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley) and all Bay Area cities. Soft story building safety, energy assurance planning, and incentives for resilience policies are program focuses.
ABAG is developing a network of resilience policy with other Councils of Governments and the Governor's Office of Planning & Research and will guide the region on how to be more disaster resilient using the policies outlined in the Loma Prieta 25 report, ABAG's policy agenda developed in 2014. The goal is to equip cities and counties with built in disaster resilience mechanisms so that they are better prepared to recover and rebuild quickly after disasters. ABAG will develop a visual map of the regional resilience programs in the Bay Area to streamline research and technical support for cities involved in disaster and climate action plans.
A toolkit of technical and policy support is being developed to help cities and counties. Technical work involves identifying hazards and resilience strategies and retrofitting homes to make them more disaster resilient, and implementing improved public safety through the development of a regional lifelines council and regional resilience index.
A Drought Summit will be convened in 2016. Grants will enable the development of new special studies on drought and urban wildland fire and risk in the Bay Area. In the coming year, ABAG will be heavily involved in supporting sustainable and safe development tied in with the Sustainable Communities Strategy (Senate Bill 75).
Information on specific workshop and services for jurisdictions, as well as maps and tools for the public, will be available on the ABAG Resilience Program website at: resilience.abag.ca.gov. For more information about the 100 Resilient Cities program, visit the website at: www.100resilientcities.org.
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.