Exploring the Planning History of Downtown Oakland

Oakland, as the urban counterpart to San Francisco in the Bay Area, is on a lot of people's radar as a place to improve on some of the lessons of recent waves of urbanization. What planning precedents shaped the city on the other side of the Bay?

March 6, 2015, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Egon Terplan and Magda Maaouidive into four of the seminal plans that created the city of Oakland, California as we know it today. Writing for SPUR, which is launching work in the city, Terplan and Maaoui focus on downtown, where the city and its grid were born.

The article examines four plans, as described in the article:

  • The Kellersberger survey and grid (1852);
  • The Robinson Plan, which emphasized civic infrastructure but was not implemented (1906);
  • The Hegemann Report (1915), which resulted in the implementation of much of the Robinson Plan and included a regional vision for connecting to Berkeley; and
  • The Bartholomew Plan, which ushered in planning for the automobile (1928)

The article is recommended reading for anyone who enjoys tracing the planning decisions of the distant past to the city of today, especially in a place as dynamic and fraught as Oakland, California.

If you're interested in following that reading up with an exploration of Oakland's present situation, read this in-depth analysis by Planetizen blogger Reuben Duarte.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in The Urbanist

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