Builders plan to invest more than $21 billion in offices and homes in flood-prone areas, where waters could climb 8 feet above today’s high tide by the end of this century. Land-use records reveal that the building boom, fueled by a white-hot tech economy, is moving too fast for regulators to keep pace. (Cover story from the summer 2015 print edition)
Water brings both life and risk to the shoreline, so seaside residents have long built barriers, canals and other protections to guard against storms and floods. Now sea level rise is adding an extra challenge.
Regional coordination will be essential if Bay Area cities and counties are to minimize flooding as the sea rises. A few initiatives have launched, but none yet has the legal authority or resources to align all 41 governments that border San Francisco Bay.