Pope, Albert; Finley, Dawn
Master of Architecture
California is built on land that readily burns, shakes and slides, and in the era of climate disruption, these ‘natural’ hazards are accelerating. Some say California never should have existed, but it does, and it will continue to, so the narrative necessarily pivots from ‘whether to exist’ to ‘how to exist’. The shared experience of disaster creates community where there was none, and while this community is temporary, when disaster becomes a semi-permanent state, it endures, and a new politics emerge. In order to imagine what is possible in the era of climate disruption my project focuses on the needs and demands of this new political era rather than operating within an existing system or institution. Risk Urbanism is broadly defined by the necessity to retreat from areas where the cost of repeated disasters cost outweighs the benefits of remaining. Risk Urbanism is further informed by the ecologic, economic, and social advantages density: a 75% drop in energy consumption, the consolidation of energy infrastructure, and public space and exposure that accommodates a new politics. Wildfires in California are accelerating in their length, frequency, and speed, they are most severe along the Foothills and Coastal ranges, where 50 years of suburban and exurban growth into the urban wild interface create a conduit for fires to move faster and further into residential settlements. In 2017, the city of Santa Rosa, located 50 miles north of San Francisco, lost 5% of its housing stock to the Tubbs fire. In 2019, upwards of 50% of the city was evacuated ahead of the Kincade Fire. Santa Rosa is the largest city in the North Bay region, it’s located at the interface of the Sonoma foothills and valley, an agricultural region adjacent to Napa Valley. Fires are not new to the region, but the scale and frequency are, and scientists predict these conditions will only worsen. This project, a case study of Risk Urbanism. It proposes the relocation of the upwards of 9,000 units in Santa Rosa’s fire risk zone to a transit-oriented zones with a restricted footprint.
Urbanism; architecture; mass timber; density; climate change.