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Scene 4: West Oakland Community Land Trust

The San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation have founded SPARC-it- Place, a temporary community gathering space and business incubator on the site of a future community-led development. At the same time, Moms 4 Housing, a West Oakland collective of homeless and marginally-housed mothers that fights to reclaim vacant, investor-owned properties, is working to create a “female owned and operated co-op that can rehab residential space for families in need of housing.”

Building on this work, a new West Oakland community land trust (CLT) is starting to acquire vacant and undervalued sites using City funding, credit union loans, and donations. The group will rehab and develop the buildings and lots in phases, adding community gardens and other spaces for community initiatives, with the ultimate goal of creating permanently below-market housing controlled by residents.

Jean and Henry are joining the CLT; they see other Oakland neighborhoods gentrifying and want to be able to afford to stay in West Oakland as they grow older.

Digital illustration of individuals, rendered in greyscale, participating in an outdoor community workshop with a billboard in the background with the words "Community Grounds Coming Soon"

Illustrated Scene

Visual Description

A digital illustration depicts several individuals, rendered in greyscale, in a large public space where a workshop is taking place. On the bottom-left corner, a woman pushes a person in the wheelchair towards the tables. On the bottom-right corner, a man and a woman stand facing each other looking at pieces of paper. Three tables surrounded by chairs and a whiteboard, all rendered in dark orange, host groups of three to four people who are engaging in the workshop. From left to right, the whiteboards read “GARDENS,” “HOUSING,” and “HEALTH.” A green model of a building sits on the table closest to the whiteboard that reads “HEALTH.” Beyond the tables on the right side of the illustration are small patches of green plants. In the background, a building with a large mural depicting a group of individuals. Grey silhouettes of people, a sunshade, and tents occupy the space in front of the building. A large billboard to the right towers above the scene with words reading: “Community Gardens Coming Soon” in bold green letters against a dark background with stylized white tree. Pink construction cranes and building silhouettes appear in the distance.

Small gardening shovel with a khaki green spade and black handle terminating in a red strap with a laminated label that reads “Bottoms Up Community Garden”
Photo: Asya Gorovits.

Models and Artifacts

Gardening shovel from Bottoms Up Community Garden in West Oakland.

Visual Description

A photo of a small gardening shovel with a khaki green spade and a black handle with dark green detailing. A red strap is tied to the end of the handle, connecting it to a laminated, square black-and-white label. The label has a QR code over a drawing of a goat. The words “Bottoms Up Community Garden” are arranged in a circle around the drawing and QR code.

A large group of people gathered at dusk mill about tents and kiosks made of scaffolding with orange and yellow signage
Photo: Annie Ledbury.

Related Research

SPARC-It-Place, a temporary community marketplace and gathering space on San Pablo Avenue, West Oakland, located on the site of a future affordable housing project. The project, led by the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), is the organization’s contribution to the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC).

Visual Description

A large group of people of all ages with their backs to the photographer stand in a concrete open area surrounded by tents made out of scaffolding, tables, and chairs. In the background at the center of the photograph is a two-story-tall sign erected on orange fabric that spans across the scaffolding. The sign, which reads “Sparc Place” in black sanserif font, features a white graphic between the two words made up of four shapes—a circle, a rectangle, a triangle, and a square—arranged into the shape of a square.


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