The City of Berkeley is deeply committed to sustainability and addressing climate change. As our infrastructure ages, we need a plan to make sure our streets, sidewalks, sewer systems and buildings are resilient enough to handle a growing population and climate change, including sea-level rise, more flooding and wildfires.
We must also make sure that this new integrated infrastructure system is environmentally and financially sustainable, and that it utilizes the latest technology so that our city can be prepared in the decades to come.
To achieve this, Mayor Arreguin has launched Vision 2050, a citizen-led effort to develop a framework for a 30-year sustainable infrastructure plan. After an 18-month planning period, this task force made up of four working groups – Quality of Life, Environment, Technology and Finance Management – will provide a report to city staff on existing conditions, best practices, community feedback and recommendations for moving forward. The information in this report will be used to guide the plan development and implementation of climate-smart, technologically-advanced, integrated and efficient infrastructure.
A truly resilient Berkeley will not possible without the advancement of racial equity, as outlined in the city’s award-winning Resiliency Strategy. An equitable community engagement process is critical to reaching the goal of making our city more livable, healthy and safe for all of our residents. Through Vision 2050, we are hoping to foster a larger discussion about the kind of city we hope to have in the future, and the steps we can take together today to get there.
In July 2018, the City Council unanimously voted to put Advisory Measure R for the development of Vision 2050 on the ballot in November. This advisory measure, similar to how Advisory Measure G led to the development of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan, would be a first step for the city to integrate the development of Vision 2050 into staff workplans, and build upon Task Force recommendations.
Infrastructure and Why It's Important to Berkeley
Much of Berkeley’s infrastructure – streets, roads, sidewalks, storm drains, parks, public buildings, the marina and waterfront – was built more than 70 years ago during the Works Projects Administration and is approaching the end of its lifespan. Aging infrastructure, in combination with exponentially worsening predictions of climate change impacts, could have serious consequences for Berkeley residents' future.
The $100 million-dollar Measure T1 General Obligation Bond, approved by voters on November 8, 2016, is already at work and being used to repair or replace aging infrastructure and facilities. While Measure T1 will address multiple infrastructure needs we face today, we need to prepare for growing climate change risks in the future, including rising sea levels, flooding and year-round wildfires. Doing so requires a plan that is resilient, adaptable, and takes into account emerging technologies and new materials.
The Vision 2050 Task Force
As a part of the Vision 2050 project, a study is being conducted by a task force of about 50 expert Berkeley residents and city staff. The goal of the study is to identify needs and opportunities for our city's infrastructure to ensure that we are truly prepared.
The first step for the Vision 2050 task force is to draft a white paper that includes initial research by the task force. After a broader community input process, a final report with recommendations to city staff, will be delivered in the fall of 2019.
Task Force Working Groups
The Quality of Life working group will identify quality of life considerations that need to be incorporated into future infrastructure projects. It will also identify infrastructure projects needed to maintain or improve quality of life in Berkeley. The focus of this group is community outreach, well-being, equity, parks, community resiliency, and disaster preparedness.
The Environment working group will develop holistic solutions for environmental challenges. The focus areas include biodiversity, resilience, sea level rise, water resources, zero waste, green infrastructure, watershed management, climate change (temperature, watershed, biosphere, fire impacts), stormwater management, heat island effects, air quality and earthquakes.
The Technology working group will identify technology trends and develop scenarios to guide Berkeley’s infrastructure planning. This group will research emerging technologies for transportation, energy, IT, buildings and water.
The Finance working group will develop strategies to meet financial challenges with innovative and cost effective financing options for building the infrastructure of the future. The focus areas include Berkeley’s existing financial resources, capital financing plans, new revenue sources, public-private partnerships, and best practices for long-range fiscal accountability management projects.
To see the full list of task force members, click here.
Although we have a task force of experts conducting the study, we want broad community input in the infrastructure plan process. We are planning for community engagement to be conducted over three phases, as follows.
Information sessions held in fall 2018. The second session has been scheduled for Monday, September 24th at 6pm, location TBD.
Interactive workshops held in early 2019
Draft findings presented in summer/fall of 2019
In July 2018, the City Council unanimously voted to put Advisory Measure R for the development of Vision 2050 on the ballot in November. This is a first step that would direct city staff to build upon the task force's recommendations and integrate them into city plans.
To get involved, contact the Vision 2050 Task Force Chair Ray Yep at email@example.com.