Adapt Oakland - An Ecosystem Services Model

— In collaboration with Urban Biofilter, The Earth Island Institute, John Faichney & Ben Golder
Information Architecture, Web UI/UX, Web Development for a green infrastructure framework developed by Urban Biofilter, an Oakland based non-profit, for the City of Oakland & the California Strategic Growth Council

Adapt Oakland is a greening plan that identifies environmental hazards and pairs them with adaptation strategies to create a healthier, more sustainable urban environment. The project encompassed 3 years of reaserch from Oakland based non-profit, Urban Biofilter and detailed . I worked with Urban Biofilter and a small team of developers to structure the research and design work that had been completed, develop a content management system and database and design and build a web UI. The project is broken into 3 phases, with a very rudimentary website (Phase 1) live and currently in beta trial stage.

Our Users
Policy Makes

Regulatory bodies & political representatives need access to clear information regarding green cities

Designers & Planners

Designers and urban planners want to understand the different green strategies available for them to use and implement at a local scale


Citizens want to know about how green infrastructure can impact them as individuals and communities

Information Architecture

One of the most challenging aspects of this project was organizing the vast quantity of research that the team at Urban Biofilter had amassed into a format that was easily digestible on a website. While the ultimate goal is tailor the presentation of this information to each user, this was not feasible in the first build. The majority of work done in the first phase was centered around formulating a system to organize the data and then categorizing and tagging the all the research and design. A content managment system and database were developed to support this.

Project Phasing

The typical outcome of a reserach project like this is to write a report that is seen by a small proportion of policy makers. Urban Biofilter chose the more challenging route of building a website, with the goal of making their research and design work accessible to as many people as possible. Their team had limitied experience with web products and a limited budget, along with final grant deadlines looming. Given these constraints, we decided to break the project into phases. Phase 1, a basic website that presents all their data and research is currently live.

Phase 1 Design Goals
Ensure that all research is being presented on the web
Ensure that geospatial research is clearly presented
Create a simple navigation system
Final Thoughts - Phase 2 and beyond

There is still a lot of work to be done on this project. We're currently in the process of acquiring funding for Phase 2 while updating the design. The research and design work that has gone into developing the Adapt Ecosystem Services model and the Adapt oakland urban greening plan is invaluable and needs to be presented in the most effective way possible. It's vital that this research be available to and used by as broad an audience possible and a little sad for me personally that phase 1 was so restricted. Definitely motivation to help bring the remaining pieces to fruition!