On November 29th, 2018, Dr. Patricia Grober from Arizona State University gave a distinguished lecture to the Geography department at UCSB titled “Building Resilience for Uncertain Water Futures.”
Across these blog posts, it can be seen that various efforts are underway to breath life back into Islais Creek. Some smaller projects even go beyond just exposing the water and natural habitat and address the transportation infrastructural needs to access the creek. While I have greatly enjoyed looking at the natural, physical, and cultural ways that people are bringing attention to Islais Creek, I wanted to make a short blog post that specifically analyzes the Hyper-Creek proposal created by the massive and experienced team of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group; ONE; Sherwood; Moffatt & Nichol; Nelson Nygaard; Strategic Economics; and Dutra Group for the Resilient By Design - Bay Area Challenge. Their proposal for Islais Creek takes on the most systems view of Islais Creek yet, and is truly “hyper” in nature.
In college I was obsessed with paddling. I would often ditch class if the weather was good to take an outrigger canoe out into the Bay, launching from a boat dock in Alameda. The view of San Francisco from the water is stunning. The city seems to exist as one massive entity, not a collection of a billion moving parts. And yet, the infrastructure of the city is mostly invisible from the water, with the exception of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, as buildings and houses line the shore and obscure the active city beyond.
“Islais Creek was fed, in part, by a stream that flowed down from the hills by way of what is today Alemany Boulevard. It was in this creek that we boys would catch pollywogs and bring them home, much to the consternation of our mothers. Mothers failed to find the creatures to be an adornment to their households. Today that stream is a busy highway carrying a heavy stream of automotive traffic.”
– Excerpt from Frank R. Quinn’s 1984 memoir, Growing Up in the Mission