Adapt to the Changing Climate

This solution addresses climate change consequences in Berkeley, California, USA for local communities

Problem Description

Berkeley and the Bay Area are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. San Francisco Bay water levels are rising and are forecast to continue to do so at an accelerating rate throughout the 21st century. In combination with increasingly unpredictable and extreme rain events, sea level rise is exacerbating the limits of Berkeley’s aging stormwater system. The result is more frequent and severe flooding, especially in West Berkeley. Also driven by climate change, periods of drought are expected to grow longer and more severe throughout California, as well as cascading impacts on our community, including stressed urban forests and ecosystems, higher food prices, and increased risk of wildfire.The consequences of flooding, drought, extreme heat, and other climate impacts are not only physical, but also social and economic. Many in the Berkeley community, based on factors such as income and the neighborhood in which they live or work, are disproportionately vulnerable.

Building Blocks


"Adapt to the Changing Climate" is 1 of 6 goals of Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy. From natural disasters to wildfires, drought and flooding from climate change to racial inequity, Berkeley’s strategy recognizes that the city’s challenges and opportunities are complex and interconnected. At its core, Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy will focus on multi-stakeholder, multi-benefit problem solving grounded in stronger connections and engagement within the community and across the region. And this strategy fits into a larger focus throughout the Bay Area on building urban resilience to the various threats posed by urban growth, seismic threats, a changing climate, and rising seas. The goals and actions identified in this strategy are grounded in community input, members of our community contributed their insights and ideas through a combination of an online survey, public workshops, City Council meetings, City Commission meetings, and events.


  • Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy

    Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy – the first in the Bay Area – is designed to advance community preparedness for some of Berkeley’s most pressing physical, social, and economic challenges.

Organisations Involved

Contributed By

  • Dee Williams Ridley, City Manager, Berkeley Resilience Team
  • Timothy Burroughs, Chief Resilience Officer, Berkeley Resilience Team
  • Katie Van Dyke, City of Berkeley

Solution Stage

One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
Developing and testing3
Mix of design and implementation skills
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Service, product and process design
  • Co-design
  • User-design
  • Light-touch evaluation
  • Cost-benefit modelling
  • Randomised control trials
  • High failure rate should be an explicit expectation
  • Visible senior leadership essential
  • Grants, convertible grants/loans
A stronger case with cost and benefit projections developed through practical trials and experiments, involving potential users
Demonstration that the idea works, or evidence to support a reworking of the idea

Key Details