[FILLED] Bay Area Regional Environmental & Resilience Fellowship

Host: Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g.,sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Disaster Response and Preparedness / Emergency Management (e.g.,flood prevention, wildfire prevention, coastal protection), Ecosystem / Habitat Conservation / Biodiversity Protection, Urban Planning
Skills Needed: Relationship Management, Research, Data Analysis, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – MTC staff work a hybrid schedule with an expectation for staff and fellows to be in the office two days per week with flexibility. MTC staff work out of the Bay Area Metro Center in downtown San Francisco. The Bay Area Metro Center was renovated in 2016 with ample hybrid-working space which supports the collaborative work of the agency.

Service Needs & Plans

The fellow will assist regional planners with technical assistance to city and county governments in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The fellow will support initiatives that inform wildfire and seismic resilience programs, broad conservation planning, and other regional planning efforts.

Project Description

Wildfire & Seismic Building Upgrade Technical Assistance
After a focus in recent years on sea level rise, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) plan to work with state and local partners to support efforts to address wildfire and seismic deficiencies in existing residential buildings. Hundreds of thousands of homes in the nine-county region are vulnerable to damage in future wildfires and earthquakes. Past efforts by MTC, ABAG and partners have helped identify where risks are greatest in the region; this fellow will support technical assistance efforts with local governments in the region to advance wildfire home hardening and seismic retrofit. The fellow will support research tasks at the regional and local level, support engagement activities with local governments, and over the course of the fellowship will be tasked to be the lead author of memos and presentations. Over the year, the fellow will help cities adopt policies and programs to improve wildfire and seismic resilience and identify approaches to integrate means-based and equity elements into the program design.

Open Space and Urban Greening Technical Assistance
Over the past two years, MTC and ABAG have worked to update the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) planning framework. The PCAs are a regional set of geographies that inform regional and local conservation efforts in both rural and urban areas. Now that the planning framework has been updated, there are many tasks to support cities in implementing the changes. The fellow will have the opportunity to take a lead role in helping update PCA maps and will have exposure to many local governments in the region, working with cities, counties, transportation agencies, and park districts. In addition to supporting with technical mapping, the fellow will support memos and presentations that summarize the mapping updates and will also conduct new research into possible state and federal funding programs that may support future projects in PCAs. Over the fellowship, the updated maps will provide a foundation for future planning efforts, and the research and analysis will support implementation of conservation efforts at the local level.
In addition to the support of specific conservation technical assistance, the fellow will help the MTC/ABAG Regional Planning Program engage local government and interested stakeholders in broader discussions around implementing regional plans. The fellow can expect to support with large scale interactive workshops to gather feedback, helping prepare before the meeting, and synthesize information collected after.

Desired Skills Organization & Workplace Highlights

MTC and ABAG are the metropolitan planning organization and council of governments for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The agencies plan for and implement a diverse work portfolio. In 2021 the agencies adopted an equity platform that informs all internal and external work of the agency which led to many policy changes. MTC staff are passionate about advancing a more affordable, connected, healthy, diverse, and vibrant region. Fellows can expect to spend a good portion of their average week problem-solving with other planners. As a physical and virtual coordinating hub for the region, MTC/ABAG is often in the host role for regional conversations where staff and elected officials gather to discuss planning challenges. Fellows can expect to participate in workshops, committee meetings, and networking events relevant to the projects they work on as well as others that interest them.

Community Highlights

MTC and ABAG are deeply engaged in core planning challenges facing the San Francisco Bay Area region. The agency supports the nine-county Bay Area region on a range of planning topics like housing affordability, climate resilience and emerging mobility. Most efforts led by MTC/ABAG require strong partnerships with local jurisdictions and other regional and state agencies. This partnership-based approach provides ample exposure to different levels of government and the opportunity to plan in a variety of different contexts and scales. The work led by MTC and ABAG is often at the cutting edge of the state of planning practice in California. For those interested in growing technical research and planning skills, the fellowship will provide an opportunity to learn by doing with mentorship and support from a supervisor and staff across the regional planning department.

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