The aim of the Reimagining 2025:Living with Fire Design Challenge is to center the voices of diverse young and emerging scholars in ongoing discussions on wildfire risk management. The objective is to enable student-led teams to closely engage with communities in processes of reimagining inclusive, just, and equitable pathways to living with fire.
The Living with Fire Design Challenge supported a first cohort of four teams in 2021, see key outcomes here. These student-led interdisciplinary teams pursued bold ideas to reimagine how communities can live with fire across communities in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Marin County in California and Boulder County, Colorado.
Building on the success and lessons learned from the first cohort (2021), our second cohort (2022-23) is currently focused on reimagining forestry and fire workforce capacities for inclusive, equitable, and just outcomes. Each team is comprised of at least three students, one faculty advisor, and one community partner. Teams receive an award of USD 20,000 each, access to a highly experienced mentor network, and pathways to future funding opportunities. The awards will enable teams to co-develop reimagined pathways to living and working with fire in sustainable, equitable, and just ways. Learn more about our 2022-23 teams and projects here.
To learn more about the 2022-23 Living with Fire Design Challenge theme, see the call for proposalshere, see our call for a new research and practice agenda to reimagine the forestry and fire workforce in caring, equitable, and just ways here,and call for research submissions here(open for submissions until 31 May 2023).
Reimagining Community Wildfire Protection Planning in Nederland, Colorado This project will facilitate community-wide visioning exercises to inform an inclusive update to Nederland’s 2011 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The project will engage with the lived experiences, values, and perspectives of teens and young adults, indigenous people, unhoused people, and older adults. For details on this project, see here.
Reimagining forestry and fire career pathways for justice-impacted people in the Bay Area, California This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty advisors, and community partners to reimagine a workforce-led and community-centered transition to living and working with fire in California’s landscape. The project will consider how workforce development and training programs can better serve justice-involved and systems-impacted people while meeting growing demands on the forestry and fire workforce. For details on this project, see here.
Reimagining fire governance to engage and partner with diverse young people nationwide Through this project, the FireGeneration Collaborative is bringing together diverse underrepresented young people to reimagine roles and partnerships for wildfire risk management in ways that are inclusive, equitable, just, and future ready. The project will work to bridge the gap between next-generation fire practitioners and government agencies, by elevating diverse young people’s voices and experiences in federal and state wildland fire risk management policy, strategies, and decision-making. Details coming soon!
Reimagining Community Wildfire Protection Planning in Ventura County, California A team from the University of California Santa Barbara in partnership with the Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council has focused on the meaningful inclusion of socially vulnerable communities in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) process for Ventura County. The team’s Story Map presents ecological data and diverse community feedback, to visualize “projected” and “reimagined” states of living with fire in just and inclusive ways in Ventura County, California. For details on their project see here.
Reimagining community resilience in Gold Hill, Boulder County, Colorado A team from the University of Colorado Boulder in partnership with the CU Center for Sustainable Landscapes and Communities and the Boulder Watershed Collective is engaged in creative programming for wildfire adapted forest ecosystems and communities using a 100-acre forest thinning/meadow restoration project in Gold Hill, CO. The team's Story Map presents "projected" and "reimagined" pathways for how the Gold Hill community can live with fire. For details on their project see here.
Mentors In 2021, the teams were guided by inspiring mentors who brought interdisciplinary thinking, industry best practices, and human-centered design thinking: Amy Berry (The Tahoe Fund), Daniel Godwin (The Ember Alliance), and Faith Kearns (California Institute for Water Resources). Learn more about our 2021 mentors here.
Inclusive evacuation planning for Marin County, California In June 2021, Wonder Labs also awarded USD 5,000 for a Design Challenge submission received from a team at UC Berkeley. As part of this award, the UC Berkeley team completed a 6-week summer project with Zonehaven AWARE to augment inclusive evacuation planning efforts in Marin County, California. This summer project contributes to community-centered research and visual design for more inclusive evacuation planning. The team was mentored by advisors from UC Berkeley, Wonder Labs, Zonehaven, and Marin County partners. For details on their project, see here.
In 2021, teams co-developed 'living with fire' community-centered projects over a period of six months, from 1 June until 30 November 2021. On 9 December 2021, teams co-presented their work with community partners followed by reflections from Design Challenge mentors at an end of project webinar, available here: https://youtu.be/yUB3Zpfdeoo
Follow updates on the Design Challenge projects on Twitter: @WonderLabs1