Oakland Launches Downtown Plan 2.0

This time with equity at the center. 

(Photo by Rich Johnstone on flickr)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

Last year, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that her administration would add 17,000 units of affordable and market-rate housing by 2024, and protect another existing 17,000 affordable homes. At the time, she said protecting residents from displacement was her administration’s highest priority.

Dovetailing with that effort, which has not been without bumps, city officials said Monday that they’ll be re-launching and expanding the city’s downtown plan to include an equity framework. The plan was kicked off in 2015 and covers land use and development, transportation, housing and economic development, CBS San Francisco reports. The team behind it hit pause last year “in response to community requests that the plan address racial disparities and the displacement of residents, services and culture,” according to the news channel.

The city has hired a consulting team led by the Institute for Sustainable Economic, Education and Environmental Design to supplement the work of the existing team led by Dover, Kohl & Partners. The consultants will “apply a social and racial framework to the process of developing a plan for downtown Oakland and deepen the engagement of communities that historically have been under-served,” according to CBS.

“Equity” can be something of a buzzword (like its good friend “resilience”) in city planning circles. But it still describes an essential framework for challenging racism in the built environment — and as Oscar Perry Abello wrote for Next City in 2015, dense downtown areas tend to be best suited for equity-driven policies.

“Sprawl was inherently not concerned about equity. In many ways sprawl was the opposite,” Chris Zimmerman, vice president for economic development at Smart Growth America, told Abello at the time, adding that equitable development should inherently be easier in downtown settings with city services and public spaces more easily shared among diverse racial and income groups — though it’s certainly no guarantee.

Oakland has also been addressing equity in numerous other aspects of the cityscape and business community, including the public health work of its DOT and its financial support of the legal cannabis industry.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

Follow Rachel .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: oaklanddowntown revitalization

×
Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1064 other sustainers such as:

  • F in El Cerrito, CA at $5/Month
  • Ann at $5/Month
  • Linda at $25/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉
Donate
×