waves splashing against a pier
Credit: Dave R / Flicker CC BY-NC 2.0
Citywide

Safety and Resilience Element

A part of the General Plan Updates

The Planning Department is updating the Safety and Resilience Element (formerly the Community Safety Element) to strengthen its support of racial and social equity, environmental justice, climate mitigation, and climate adaptation. As the climate crisis worsens and disasters strike, disproportionate burdens are suffered by increasing numbers of vulnerable residents.

The Safety and Resilience Element Update will provide a comprehensive set of policies for minimizing San Francisco’s contribution to the climate crisis and ensuring local resilience to multiple hazards. It will help protect the assets and people of San Francisco, especially areas and communities that face higher vulnerability to disasters. 

The Element was last updated in October 2012 with enhanced policies for disaster preparedness and longer-term resilience. The current element contains four goals: mitigation, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and reconstruction. It is particularly focused on seismic issues. 

Since then, there has been progress in the policies, approaches, and tools for ensuring community safety from natural, climate-induced, and human-made hazards. Communities of color and other disadvantaged neighborhoods are often hurt first and worst in any disaster, and struggle more to recover. 

This update will comply with California State Senate Bill 379 (Jackson, 2016) ensuring consistency between the Safety and Resilience Element and the City’s local hazard mitigation plan (2020 Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan). It will also comply with Senate Bill 1000 (Leyva, 2016) directives around environmental justice and be closely coordinated with the City’s Climate Action Plan updates.

The proposed updates include two additional goals: equitable community safety and climate resilience. In order to achieve these goals, policies will be developed for racial and social equity, environmental justice, and resilience to multiple hazards that also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. These issues will also be integrated throughout the existing four goals as the existing content is refined for gaps and clarity. 

Timeline for Community Safety Element
  2019 Fall 2020 Winter 2021 Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Fall 2021
Key Project Milestones       Framework              
          Policy Language          
            Environmental Review (tentative)        
                Policy Adoption (pending Env Review)    
Community Engagement Workshop: Hazards and Climate Resilience                    
        Workshop: Climate Action Plan General Plan Open House            
            Public Engagement (ongoing)  

Project Resources

Interagency Coordination

The Safety and Resilience Element Update will be consistent with two key City implementation plans, the Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan (local hazard mitigation plan) and Climate Action Plan (climate action strategy). Together, these three documents provide a vision and direction for San Francisco’s climate resilient future through comprehensive planning, longer-range policies, and nearer-term strategies and actions. 

The Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan (HCR) is San Francisco’s blueprint to better understand and address the impacts of both sudden and slower moving disasters on people, buildings, and infrastructure. It identifies the hazards, vulnerabilities, and consequences the city could face without action, and proposes over 90 strategies to mitigate risks and adapt to unavoidable climate impacts. It was co-created by 26 agencies and led by the Office of Resilience and Capital Planning.  

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) is San Francisco’s roadmap for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions to minimize the severity of climate-related hazards locally and do our part globally. It charts the best pathways for action towards San Francisco’s net-zero city commitment, per the Paris Climate Agreement. To minimize global heating and its severe impacts, the City is striving to meet these goals by 2030: 0 waste, 80% sustainable trips (walking, biking, transit), 100% renewable energy, and urban greening for carbon sequestration.

To schedule a meeting with the Planning Department, please email lisa.fisher@sfgov.org

Sign up for our email list to receive periodic updates on the Safety and Resilience Element.

DATE DETAILS MINUTES MATERIALS
February 18, 2021
5:30-7:00pm
RSVP Here (free)
SF Department of the Environment - Climate Action Plan Workshop
Topic: Climate and Resilience
   

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the San Francisco General Plan?
The General Plan provides a comprehensive set of objectives and policies that influence how we live, work, and move about, as well as the quality and character of the City. The General Plan reflects community values and priorities through its public adoption process, ensuring both private development and public action conform to this vision. The General Plan helps shape our daily lives, respond to today’s big challenges, and lead us to a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy future that enables all San Franciscans to thrive.

What is the Safety and Resilience Element?
The Safety and Resilience Element is a comprehensive set of policies for minimizing San Francisco’s contribution to the climate crisis and ensuring local resilience to multiple hazards. It helps protect the assets and people of San Francisco, especially areas and communities that face higher vulnerability to disasters.

What does the Safety and Resilience Element do – and not do?
The Safety and Resilience Element influences how the City prepares, responds to, and recovers from all hazards. It also influences how the people and assets of San Francisco become more resilient. As a policy document, the Safety and Resilience Element guides city decisions and actions, such as funding programs and regulating development.

There are two key implementing documents that work in partnership with the Safety and Resilience Element, each with their own specific set of strategies. The 2020 Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan, led by the Office of Resilience and Capital Planning, is a climate adaptation plan that responds to all hazards. The 2021 Climate Action Plan, led by SF Environment, is a climate mitigation plan that reduces the City’s greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s different about the Safety and Resilience Element 2021 Update?
The Safety Element was last updated in 2012 to strengthen policies for disaster preparedness and long-term resilience, particularly seismic issues. The current element contains four goals: mitigation, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and reconstruction.

Over the past eight years, there have been advancements in the field across natural, climate-induced, and human-made hazards and approaches to safety and resilience. The experience of disaster is becoming more frequent and intense. Communities of color and other disadvantaged neighborhoods are often hurt first and worst in any disaster, and struggle more to recover. The major events of the past few years—pandemic, social unrest, and wildfire season—have provided additional spotlight to current gaps in the Safety Element.

Why is the Safety and Resilience Element 2021 Update required?
This update will comply with:

How will the Safety and Resilience Element 2021 Update respond to COVID-19?
The Safety and Resilience Element includes policies for how the city prepares for, responds to, and mitigates all hazards, including pandemic. We will work closely with the City’s COVID Command Center, Department of Public Health, and Department of Emergency Management to develop these policies.

The 2020 Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan, one of the key implementing documents that partners with the Safety Element, includes a strategy to improve resilience to pandemics and infectious disease.

Why is it important that I participate in the Safety and Resilience Element 2021 Update?
Your input will help shape San Francisco’s climate and resilience priorities! To make sure these policies and programs are inclusive and represent the values and ideas of our city’s diverse population, we want to hear from as many San Francisco residents and community members as possible. Your input will guide the development of key ideas, policies, and implementation programs to ensure an equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for San Francisco.

How can I get more information on hazards that impact me and my community?
The 2020 Hazards and Climate Resilience Plan created a StoryMap to highlight the hazards threatening San Francisco’s communities and how hazards relate to the climate crisis. Explore the StoryMap.

Other City climate resilience resources.

How can I participate in the Safety and Resilience Element 2021 Update?
While SF Planning intended to host a variety of in-person outreach events, due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, we will utilize efforts that require no in-person tools or tactics.