Climate Positive City Design

Climate Positive City Design is situated at the nexus of policy and design. Environmental designers are experimenting with techniques, technologies, and designs to venture beyond net-zero goals and build climate positive places. Policy can support this quest to build sustainable sites at various scales, and designers can guide policy through boots-on-the-ground knowledge of challenges, opportunities, and built successes.


As an Affiliate Event of Global Climate Action Summit 2018, this evening salon hosts a panel of nationally-recognized leaders in environmental design and policy for an invigorating discussion of lessons learned and ways to fast-track climate positive design solutions at an urban scale. Join us after the lively panel discussion to continue the conversation around the future of our cities.


444 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
CMG Landscape Architecture



September 13th, 2018



6:00 – 6:30      Registration and Networking
6:30 – 7:30      Panel Discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:30      Reception


This is a free event. Register Here for Climate Positive City Design.

This evening salon is part of a series of evening salons hosted by CMG. We bring together thinkers, academics, innovators, and practitioners to discuss issues of community building, placemaking, design, and politics in the contemporary city, with an eye toward strategies for change.




Chad Frischmann, VP & Research Director, Project Drawdown

Chad is Vice President and Research Director of Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization that assesses, maps, models, and communicates the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. A coalition-builder and systems strategist, he works to reverse global warming and build a new, regenerative future with cascading benefits to the environment and to human well-being. Chad is the lead researcher and principal architect of the methodology and models behind the New York Times best-seller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. In collaboration with leading environmentalist Paul Hawken and a global team of researchers and thought leaders, Chad designed sophisticated models to assess the world’s most effective climate solutions and determine if, when, and how the world can reach “drawdown,” the point in time when the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. Previously, Chad was the Senior Program Officer at The Europaeum; taught at the University of Oxford and the University of California at Berkeley; and worked as a consultant and researcher for UNESCO and the International Funk for Agricultural Development.


Claire Maxfield, Director, Atelier Ten

Claire is Managing Director of Atelier Ten’s San Francisco office, a global leader in environmental design with a reputation as inventive collaborators in high-performance green building design. She is a recognized leader in the environmental design and delivery of large, complex, environmentally ambitious master plans, landscapes and buildings. Her breadth of work spans from the first LEED Platinum building to designing what will be the largest and most sustainable mass transit development on the west coast. Claire’s expertise in green buildings marries technical excellence with a strong design and environmental ethos. She has extensive expertise in climate-responsive architecture, design for thermal and visual comfort, high performance façade optimization, advanced energy and HVAC systems, water reuse systems, and carbon management.


Lisa Fisher, Sustainable City Team Lead, San Francisco Planning Department

Lisa leads the Sustainable City Team at the San Francisco Planning Department, whose mission is to foster a vibrant, regenerative, and adaptive urban environment through bold efforts at the building, neighborhood, and citywide scale. Although focused on “environmental” sustainability (climate, ecology, resources, et al), the initiative also seeks to embed a more comprehensive sustainability lens into Department-wide efforts (e.g., neighborhood plans, land use, housing, and transportation policies; public space and urban design; community engagement, et al). Currently, Lisa is developing sustainability policies and implementation for several of the City’s Sustainability Districts, including Central SoMa and three major waterfront developments. She also co-leads the City’s biodiversity work and district-scale utility explorations, and helped author the City’s Sea Level Rise Action Plan.


Pamela Conrad, Senior Associate, CMG Landscape Architecture

Pamela is a Senior Associate at CMG Landscape Architecture where she applies her experience as a landscape architect to transform challenged urban areas into highly valued public realm open spaces. Currently Pamela is managing two of the largest environmentally innovative projects in the Bay Area responding to climate change — the redevelopment of Treasure Island and San Francisco’s seawall resiliency project. She brings a strong ecological background to her work on resiliency and climate change solutions, which is rooted in her passion for the environment developed through her degrees in Plant Science and regenerative-focused landscape architecture, and experience restoring waterways with the US Army Corps of Engineers. She is a recipient of the 2018 Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellowship for development of the Landscape Carbon Calculator – the product of an extensive research initiative on Climate Positive solutions which she is sharing at lectures and events to academics and professionals around the globe.



Chris Guillard, Partner, CMG Landscape Architecture

Chris is a founding partner of CMG and works across boundaries – be they creative, technical, or management oriented, and he brings an inventive and rigorous ecological system agenda to each of his projects. His personal focus is on public parks and community spaces as they offer the best opportunity to deepen the relationship between people and place and to create social and ecological value. He views design as a way of thinking and investing that is simultaneously intuitive and rational, creative and solution-oriented, open-ended and critical. Chris has lectured at the University of California Berkeley, Virginia Tech University, Ohio State University, and Colorado State University, and has taught at the University of California, Davis. Recent projects range from community-based work such as Treasure Island, Mint Plaza, and the Panhandle Bandshell to pro-bono work designing Noe Valley Park to his current project designing Facebook’s headquarters campus.

Resilient by Design – What’s Next

The Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge (RBD) has come to a close and the next phase of work is just beginning. CMG is proud to provide the venue for ULI’s SF Sustainability Committee’s exciting discussion around new strategies for bringing RBD’s proposals to life. ULI’s ticketed event will discuss topics regarding the actualization of these projects with panelists focused on creative financing, proactive policy making, and neighborly collaboration.




Amanda Brown Stevens, Managing Director, Resilient By Design (Moderator)
Chris Guillard, Partner, CMG Landscape Architecture & RBD All Bay Collective Team
Kiran Jain, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, Neighborly (formerly Chief Resilience Officer for Oakland) & Resilient by Design Executive Board Member
Lindy Lowe, Resilience Director for the Port of San Francisco (formerly Planning Director for BCDC) & Resilient by Design Research Advisor
Courtney Pash, Senior Development Manager, BUILD
Paul Peninger, Director, Design, Planning and Economics, Pacific, AECOM & RBD All Bay Collective Team



CMG Landscape Architecture
444 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA 94107



July 18th, 2018


Tickets & Information at:

Resilient by Design’s final stretch

This week at CMG marks the year-long culmination of tough learning and new alliances: The Resilient Bay Summit.

Last May, CMG as part as the All Bay Collective team proudly began research for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge as technical experts in environmental resiliency, this spring we emerge with a humbled yet hopeful outlook on the social complexities surrounding these environmental concerns. As the week draws to an end we invite you along with us to celebrate and explore the takeaways of this year long inquiry.


Summit Events include:

Thursday, May 17, 2018 – 2:30pm
All Bay Collective Design Team Presentation
Available through live stream link here.


Thursday, May 18, 2018 – 1:00-5:00pm
Resilient By Design Community Takeaway Conversations
Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch Street, Alameda
An afternoon of exploring key takeaways from the process, and ideas,
strategies, and best practices for advancing resilience efforts around the Bay Area.


May 22  –  June 1, 2018
Resilient by Design-Bay Area Challenge Design Showcase
Bay Area Metro Center Lobby
375 Beale Street, San Francisco
Open: 7 am to 7 pm weekdays
9 am to 1 pm Saturdays


While the formal RBD Bay Area Challenge comes to an end, ABC will continue to work with community groups to implement the design and increase the social and environmental resilience of San Leandro Bay, as well as to share the lessons learned from this challenge with other cities worldwide.

Next Steps for St. James Park

CMG Associate Haley Waterson recently presented Next Steps for St. James Park at SPUR San Jose, along with Yu-Wen Huang, City of San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department; Mary Rubin, San Jose Public Art Program; and Laura Wolford, Friends of Levitt Pavilion. St. James Park is a significant, 150-year old public landscape in San Jose’s downtown that is now infrequently used by area residents and experiencing an increase in social challenges. CMG’s competition-winning design maintains and enhances the unique historic aspects of the park and re-organizes the new largely undefined central open space into outdoor rooms, each with a distinct character. As Haley said, St. James Park, “is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city and a great way to kick-start downtown civic pride.”

Read More


ASLA-NCC Spring Walking Tour

On Saturday April 28, the ASLA-Northern California Chapter conducted a walking tour of two of San Francisco’s transformative neighborhoods: Dogpatch and Mission Bay. One stop on the tour was CMG’s Daggett Park, where Associate Haley Waterson gave a brief presentation on how this 1-acre neighborhood park was created out of an existing right-of-way. On the edge between Dogpatch and Mission Bay, Daggett Park included a significant community engagement process in order to develop the programming for the three major park components: a dog park, lawn for events and recreation, and two play sculptures: the Tilted Lawn and the Penta-Step.

Read More

Four CMG Projects Win ASLA Design Recognition

Four CMG projects were recently recognized by the Northern California chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In the General Design category, the University of California Berkeley’s Lower Sproul Plaza, as well as Market Square Commons in San Francisco were awarded Honor Awards and Daggett Park in San Francisco was awarded a Merit Award. In the Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space category, Hunters Point Shipyard Hillpoint Park won a Merit Award.

Read More


LAF Fellow for Innovation and Leadership

CMG is proud to announce Senior Associate Pamela Conrad is selected for the 2018-2019 Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. The year-long program allows recipients to develop ideas that have the potential to create positive and profound change in the profession, environment, and humanity. 

Pamela is developing a Landscape Carbon Calculator as a tool to understand and reduce our carbon footprint. To date, no publicly available carbon calculator for landscape architecture exists. As landscape projects contain trees and plants, they possess the power to sequester carbon. Pamela asks the questions, “Can landscape architects do better than carbon neutral? Can we instead strive beyond neutrality to do ‘net good’ and contribute to the fight against global warming?” To accomplish that, Pamela believes we must understand how to measure our contributions. With a carbon calculator specifically designed for landscape architecture, we can actively set goals for ourselves as a profession to combat climate change.

Creating a more welcoming and inclusive Civic Center

Thousands of women and their allies gather for the Women's March at Civic Center in San Francisco, Calif. Saturday January 21, 2017. The Women's March is a national movement attempting to unite people around issues like reproductive rights, immigration and civil rights after Donald Trump's inauguration. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

CMG is leading a design team to reimagine a vision for San Francisco’s Civic Center. The goal is to develop design and activation strategies to make Civic Center a more welcoming and inclusive public space and 21st-century commons that all San Franciscans can be proud of – where civil discourse and social justice are cultivated and where city residents embrace shared governance with compassion and pride. The Public Realm Plan will develop conceptual designs for several key public spaces – Civic Center Plaza, United Nations Plaza, Fulton Street between Larkin and Hyde, and surrounding streets. As CMG Partner Willett Moss says, “Although each and every place is unique, special places with special attributes can rise to iconic levels and Civic Center is such a place.”

CMG’s design and engagement approach to Civic Center’s public spaces is a community-based process that encourages participation and the sharing of ideas. The first step in the process is the launching of a citywide survey seeking community feedback on potential design improvements to the Civic Center area. Open to anyone with an interest in the future of Civic Center’s public spaces and streets, responses from the survey will be used to help develop design alternatives for many Civic Center streets and public spaces.

So imagine a new civic center with us. Take the survey and help make a better public realm for all. The Civic Center Public Realm Plan Community Survey, available here, will be open through February 28, 2018.


Additional members of the design team include Gehl Studio, HR&A, InterEthnica, Kennerly Architecture + Planning, Lotus Water, Structus, M. Lee, JS Nolan, architecture + history, and HRA Engineering. The Public Realm Plan is an interagency effort managed by the San Francisco Planning Department in partnership with multiple City agencies including San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Recreation & Parks, San Francisco Real Estate Division, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. For more information visit:


CMG’s Leadership is Growing

We are proud to announce the promotion of Pamela Conrad, Rayna deNiord and Carrie Rybczynski to Senior Associate, and Justin Aff, Corbett Belcher, Michael Hee, Jason Rowe, Lauren Stahl, Sam Woodham-Roberts, and Nicolaus Wright to Associate. From a rooftop workplace landscape for Facebook to a park below an existing highway ramp, to designing Treasure Island’s public realm to creating urban design guidelines for University of Washington’s West Campus, these individuals are committed to producing memorable landscapes. We are excited to recognize their achievements.

(Left to Right: Pamela Conrad, Rayna DeNiord, Carrie Rybczynski)


Senior Associates


Pamela Conrad, PLA, LEED AP

Pamela has over a decade of experience designing and managing domestic and international projects, and has led many of the firm’s largest, most complex projects. She brings an ecologically sensitive approach to her work, and has focused on transforming marginalized urban spaces into public parks and the integration and restoration of ecological systems into the urban interface. For CMG, Pamela is currently managing the San Francisco Seawall Resiliency Project and Treasure Island Redevelopment. Additional projects include Bay Meadows Open Space, O Street Office Building, and One Vassar.


Rayna deNiord

There is a curiosity that lives inside Rayna. Interested in where ideas come from and how best to catch them, she throws a wide net when casting. As an experienced project manager and technical and conceptual designer, whatever the scale or scope of a project she explores the fuzzy edge between thinking and doing by inviting play, cultivating curiosity, and allowing whatever sort of meaning to emerge. Rayna has been leading the design of Facebook’s Menlo Park campus for the last 7 years. Other projects include SFMOMA Rooftop Sculpture Garden, Pacific Overlook, and Ohlone Newark Center Community College.


Carrie Rybczynski, PLA, LEED AP

Carrie’s passion is effectively and efficiently shepherding projects from design through construction and maintaining the design vision set in the initial stages. Her portfolio spans projects of all scales and types, from small pocket parks to large-scale community planning projects. In addition to her project work, Carrie is an office leader in the staffing and management of project teams. Recent and ongoing projects include Transbay Under Ramp Park, Folsom St. Streetscape, Noe Valley Town Square, The Tribal School, and UC Berkeley Lower Sproul Plaza.


(Left to Right: Jason Rowe, Justin Aff, Corbett Belcher, Lauren Stahl, Nico Wright, Michael Hee, Sam Woodhams-Roberts)




Justin Aff

In all of his projects, Justin seeks opportunities to make the most of our shared public spaces. He approaches places with an urban sensibility and designs by celebrating the natural and innate features of places and the ways they accrue and evolve. His focus is on public places, ranging from small parks and plazas to large campus master plans. Recent projects include East Wharf Park, Mission Bay Park P3, Point Richmond Terminal One and Waterfront Park, Treasure Island Streetscape, and UCSF 4th Street Plaza.


Corbett Belcher

Corbett’s experience managing projects from inception to completion has been developed on projects ranging from a 1,300-acre urban park to historic and adaptive re-use to rooftop gardens. These projects have honed his attention to detail and coordination and his ability to find solutions to a variety of issues while maintaining project integrity. He believes the challenge of good public space is to reach a diversity of users, designing flexibility into the framework of the space to allow diverse users to make it their own. His projects include Facebook and managing six different projects at Bay Meadows.


Michael Hee, PLA

Michael believes in work that makes communities better through versatile and resilient public spaces, and is focused on getting projects built. He translates between contractors, clients, and design teams, and enjoys the unforeseen field situations that require a collaborative on-the-spot sketch to realize or exceed the original design intent. His project work includes Daggett Park, Mission Bay Park P3, Crissy Field Overlook, 41 Tehama Street, and Marin Academy Science Building.


Jason Rowe, PLA

Jason has held a primary role on a variety of institutional, campus, multi-family housing, and public projects and has a strong background in site design, construction detailing, planting design, and integration of site-specific ecology and natural systems. His creative inspiration comes from the visual arts, nature, music, gardening, architecture, and site materiality. Recent projects include Facebook, Bay Meadows Open Space, Daggett Park, California Academy of Sciences Entry Landscape, and The Pacific.


Lauren Stahl

Since she was young, Lauren has been interested in cities and the quality of public spaces. Growing up in the middle of suburban sprawl, she felt dissatisfied with the fragmentation and lack of community center, so her career path has been focused on creating the type of public spaces she missed growing up. Lauren’s recent projects include Treasure Island Redevelopment, Nueva School, Yerba Buena Street Life Plan, and One Vassar.


Sam Woodhams-Roberts

Growing up in the Bay Area informs Sam’s appreciation of the relationship between communities and their shared spaces. Prior to his career as a landscape architect, Sam studied forestry, taught environmental education, and worked in ecological research. From this trajectory he has come to value design as a means of giving form and voice to his environmental ethics. Recent work includes UC Berkeley Lower Sproul Plaza, Transbay Under Ramp Park, Noe Valley Town Square, and Folsom St. Streetscape.


Nico Wright

Trained as an architect with a background in public art and archaeology, Nico brings a unique perspective to each of his projects. As a cross-disciplinary designer, he creates strong collaborations by translating between project constituencies, and strives to maintain a connection between the broad ideas of site, history and geography and the human-scale details with which people interact. His projects include Facebook, Moscone Center Expansion Open Space, 801 Brannan, and Alcatraz Embarkation Site.

Principal Scott Cataffa Speaking at SPUR

CMG is part of a team designing a new embarkation site to Alcatraz Island. Working with the National Park Service, Parks Conservancy, and the Port of San Francisco, the project includes a new civic plaza that serves as an extension of the Embarcadero, new pavilion with interpretive experiences, new ferry landing, and an après tour area that extends the visitor experience by providing comfort, sustenance, and social connections.

 Come hear Principal Scott Cataffa present this project at the SPUR Urban Center on Tuesday January 30, 12:30 pm.

Read more