California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of People's Park Housing

The decision paves the way for a controversial student housing development.

1 minute read

June 10, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Two-level stack of shipping containers blocking off People's Park in Berkeley, California.

Shipping containers block access to People's Park in January 2024. | Sevgonlernassau, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

A plan to build student housing in People’s Park near the University of California, Berkeley will move forward after the state’s Supreme Court ruled in the university’s favor in a suit trying to stop the development. The lawsuit claimed that the EIR for the proposed development was inadequate and did not address potential noise concerns.

As Jessica Garrison and Hannah Wiley note in the Los Angeles Times, “The ruling marks what may — finally — be a decisive final chapter in a land-use saga that began when activists seized the parcel in a moment of 1960s protest and built a park with their own hands, hauling in sod and planting flowers. That launched a 55-year experiment in utopian ideals — and the harsh realities that sometimes trail after them.”

The university argues that the redevelopment project, which will include a supportive housing component, is desperately needed as the housing and homelessness crisis deepens for residents and students. “Campus officials said last year that Berkeley was able to house only 23% of its students, the lowest share among the UC system’s 10 campuses. The scarcity of campus housing has forced many students to cram into shared spaces, commute long distances or live out of their cars.”

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