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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CMG Launches Series of Design Salons

Last fall we hosted our first in a series of evening salons to bring together thinkers, academics, innovators, and practitioners to discuss issues of community building, design and politics in the contemporary city.

Our inaugural topic was Democratic Public Space and over 60 people joined us for a lively conversation about shaping the future of our cities. One of the cornerstones of our mission at CMG is to improve the social wellbeing of our cities. We use the term “democratic public space” as it relates to the role public space has in relation to our democratic society, and differentiates public space from privately-owned space that has some level of public access.


Moderated by CMG Partner Kevin Conger, panelists included:


Daniel Harris, Knight Foundation

Daniel is the San Jose Program Director of the Community and National Initiatives Program which supports successful, inclusive cities. His work has been featured in many national publications, and The Washington Post calls him a “modern-day Studs Terkel”.


Neil Hrushowy, SF Planning Department

Neil is manager of the City Design Group, whose purpose is to advocate the human dimension as central to city design. His team of urban designers is responsible for leading streetscape designs, public realm plans, urban design review, and advising other City agencies on all aspects of public realm design.


Shawn Lani, Exploratorium

Shawn is an artist, curator, and educator dedicated to engaging people in public spaces. As founding director of the Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces, he is dedicated to introducing informal, inquiry-based learning into the public realm.


Aekta Shah, Institute for Sustainable Economic Educational and Environmental Design

As Program Director of Technology and Youth Engagement, Aekta is creating new models of direct democracy and self-determination in vulnerable communities by increasing civic participation, bettering our environment, transforming education, and increasing access to opportunity.


Additional salons will be scheduled this year as we continue to explore important urban issues, with an eye toward generating strategies for change.

CMG Participates in Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge

The All Bay Collective (ABC) is one of 10 teams chosen to participate in the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge. The challenge is to generate innovative community-based solutions aimed at addressing the threat of climate change in the Bay Area, and strengthening its resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes as well as issues of inequity and affordability. As a member of the All Bay Collective (ABC) team, CMG is excited to collaborate with AECOM, University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Terner Center for Housing Innovation, California College of the Arts, Silvestrum, Moll de Monchaux, SKEO, and IDEO.

During the Challenge’s Collaborative Research Phase, the ABC team determined key adaptation challenges in the Bay Area include groundwater flooding, vulnerable transportation corridors, and jurisdictional barriers to cooperation. ABC believes the Bay Area is living right now on the edge of risk, and solutions to environmental and social challenges will come from living in the edge.

Now in the Collaborative Design Phase, ABC is developing conceptual design concepts for the San Leandro Bay – Oakland Coliseum site in Alameda County; an unparalleled opportunity to create a new paradigm of how a thriving urban center can support a wide range of economic opportunity and housing alternatives. The design proposal focuses on three design concepts: Tidal City, Resilient Corridors, and Resilient Equity Hubs (REHBs).

The Challenge wraps up in May 2018.