The Practice

New Playbook Details Minutiae of Resilience

by | Dec 20, 2021

Watercolor-style illustration of a farmland community and river with people beneath a tree and on a hillside.

A resilient and thriving community. Art by Alfred Twu.

In the midst of a climate emergency already thrusting wildfires, drought, and flooding upon us it is easy to feel helpless and lost. The Greenbelt Alliance’s newly released “Resilience Playbook” seeks to combat that resignation by offering a motivating vision and practical steps for building local climate adaptation and resilience. Worried about heat and how it disproportionately affects certain neighborhoods where you live? This resource gives a step-by-step guidance on how to integrate urban greening into general plans, along with a menu of policy examples, budget priorities, and model climate action plans to catalyze resilience action for citizens, municipalities, and community organizations. Critically, the playbook offers advice on effectively partnering with underserved populations and communities who are often left out of the budget and infrastructure conversations where priorities are decided.

Recommendations and “critical actions to take now” come from the Greenbelt Alliance’s six plus decades of land-use policy advocacy and regional collaboration. Executive Director Amanda Brown-Stevens and Director of Climate Resilience Zoe Siegel also bring experience from shepherding the implementation of the 2018 Resilient by Design competition that spurred fantastic visions of South Bay Sponges, Grand Bayways, and Estuary Commons. This playbook focuses on the more mundane minutiae of resilience: city budgets, general plans, and regulations. A decidedly less sexy, and more Sisyphean task — yet also one that is more achievable, and no less important. Whether the intended audience, ranging from local citizens to government planners to political leaders, uses the plays from this book will be up to all of us.

Other Recent Posts

Future-Proof Homes?

Oona Khan dreams about her home of the future, after losing her Malibu retreat to fire. Caught in a quagmire of legal battles with Southern California Edison, and surging construction costs, Khan is still waiting to start construction.


In Part 1 FIRE, KneeDeep explores where to expect debris flows from burn scars, how one neighborhood became fire wise, and what schools are doing to become safe havens.

East Coast: Three Tales of Trouble and Triumph in the Fight Against Storm Surge

In this January mini-series, KneeDeep reaches across the continent to the East Coast to see how New York, New Jersey and Miami are wrestling with rising seas, whether they are succeeding in getting the local populace on-board, how the Army Corps’ is faring in its slow embrace of more nature-based flood-protection, and what parallels can be found here in San Francisco Bay. Three different angles on the same story, including one presented for your listening pleasure, by reporters Lilah Burke, Robin Meadows, and Ashleigh Papp.

How Far Can Metro Harbors Go on Nature-Based Shore Protection?

Typical flood protections rely on engineered structures. But there’s a new push at the national level of the US Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize working with nature. Storm surge plans currently underway in New York, Miami and San Francisco highlight a range of nature-based fixes.

About The Author

Isaac Pearlman

covers sea level rise, flooding, and other topics around the San Francisco Bay Area. His stories and essays have been featured in Sierra Magazine, Earth Island Journal, Estuary News, and the Progressive Populist, among other outlets.