Rising Tides Solution: Golden Gate Portal

A proposal for a canal between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay to be completed by 2050

Rising tides are estimated to increase sea level by at least three feet within 50 years and cause multiple tidal and storm inundations within 10 years in every community on San Francisco Bay. County agencies have been studying places where it is feasible and economical to consider seawalls, dykes, mounds, diversions, or even submersion. This will be a massive undertaking that might prioritize high-value infrastructure over less-developed areas. The result will probably be a ring around the Bay that will limit access and visibility, but could also affect the quality of the water and wildlife in unpredictable ways.

This design proposal for an international ideas competition envisions a ring-shaped canal spanning the Golden Gate, a solution that could preserve access, visibility, and nearly all other aspects of human interaction with the Bay.

We took this approach because many residents, including elected officials, have asked, “Why build individual sea walls all around the bay instead of just one across the Golden Gate?” We wanted to visualize it and test it. We think this approach has drawbacks but hope it will stimulate discussion and draw attention to a looming issue.

Related community service projects to balance quality of life and quality of environment: Warm Water Cove Industry & Wetlands, Islais Creek Environs Master Plan, Islais Landing


San Francisco Bay, CA

Construction Cost

Estimated $100 billion




Robin Chiang & Company