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Scene 5: New Housing Developments

Derek has struggled to afford rent at times and is concerned about his unhoused neighbors—many of them older—and his aging father. Although he wants more affordable housing in the neighborhood in the face of rapidly escalating real estate prices, after seeing West Oakland neglected over decades, he is skeptical of government intervention.

Derek heard about the National Homes Guarantee, a platform developed by a multiracial coalition of more than a million grassroots leaders whose central goal is to “build 12 million social housing units and eradicate homelessness.” At a meeting of climate justice organizers working with the new California Housing Authority, he learned about a West Oakland plan, aligned with the Guarantee, to produce 1,600 healthy, carbon-free homes in new and renovated buildings. Community groups, like the new CLT, would act as development partners, and resident associations would make operations decisions for each building.

Derek hopes it’s not too good to be true. He might even get a job on the construction crew.

Digital illustration of a streetscape featuring a parkway with a bike lane and construction cranes in the background

Illustrated Scene

Visual Description

A street-level view down a wide road with three medians, rendered in shades of yellow and brown, shows people utilizing the street’s accessible pathways, grass patches, and benches. On the left, a person is bicycling down a green bike lane, past a group of four people, rendered in greyscale, standing around a table on the sidewalk unfolding a banner that reads “More Afford- -using.” A jogger crosses the street towards the group by the table. In the background, grey human silhouettes of different abilities utilize pedestrian spaces: a figure pushes someone in a wheelchair, another figure uses a walker, and a couple walk a dog, while other figures sit on benches and seating areas along the medians.

Three-dimensional wood model of a multi-block site, showing several scattered buildings painted khaki green amidst mostly beige structures.
Photo: Center for Architecture.

Models and Artifacts

Model of the proposed sites for new housing developments in the neighborhood, including community-sponsored projects in a community land trust and public housing projects designed in accordance with guidelines from the Green New Deal for Housing.

Visual Description

A three-dimensional wood model of a multi-block site, largely painted a shade of beige, calls attention to several scattered buildings that are painted khaki green. Several of the green buildings are located along a wide street that crosses the site diagonally from the top-left corner to the bottom-right end of the model. A few others are located along the left side of the model. Quite a few of the green buildings also tend to be slightly larger in scale than a majority of the buildings that are painted beige, many of which seem to be single-story structures.

Street map of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Leandro, Piedmont, Emeryville and Albany with red, yellow, blue, and green overlays

Related Research

Home Owner’s Loan Corporation “Residential Security” map of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Leandro, Piedmont, Emeryville, and Albany, with color-coded gradation of neighborhoods by risk level (1937).


Visual Description

A color-coded street map of several north California neighborhoods with different zones filled in with either solid red, yellow, green, and blue infills or diagonal lines and crosshatches. The top of the map reads “Thomas Bros Map of Oakland, Berkley, Alameda, San Leandro, Piedmont, Emeryville, and Albany.” Below that a scale that reads “Graphic Scale in Feet.” A legend on the upper-right-hand corner of the map that reads “Residential Security Map Legend” explains what each color or pattern denotes: green represents “A – First Grade,” blue represents “B – Second Grade,” yellow represents “C – Third Grade,” red represents “D – Fourth Grade,” diagonal lines represent “Sparsely Settled,” and crosshatches represent “Industrial & Commercial. The red zones are predominantly on the left outer edges of the map, closest to the water, followed by yellow, blue, and green zones as you move inland. On the left and right outer edges of the map are the numbers 1-16. On the top and bottom outer edges of the map are the letters B through X.

Cover of the Commemorator newspaper featuring two stories: "West Oakland Fights for a Future for All" and "David Hilliard, Former BPP Leader, Bids for West Oakland Council Seat"

“West Oakland Fights for a Future for All,” Commemorator vol. 9, no. 1 (August 1999)


Visual Description

A cover of the Commemorator newspaper features two lead stories: “West Oakland Fights for a Future for All” and “David Hilliard, Former BPP Leader, Bids for West Oakland Council Seat.” The top register of the newspaper page has a black band with white text that reads: “’Death with Dignity’ Means Genocide for the Poor — Stop AB 1592 (See page 4).” Below this banner is the title of the newspaper in large, graphic, serif font next to a black silhouette of a panther. Text in italics below the publication title and logo reads: “Published by the Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther.” Below that, a thin register separated by thin black lines includes three separate text fields: “Volume 9, Number 1,” “Suggested Donation $1.50,” and “August 1999.” The first headline story, “West Oakland Fights for a Future for All,” includes two columns of text along with a black-and-white photo of two dark-skinned men—one sitting and one standing and holding a microphone. A caption below the photo reads: “Will Oliver joined other West Oakland residents to demand that all community redevelopment projects provide for all the housing and income needs of West Oakland residents and not displace the area’s poor and minority working families. The second headline story, “David Hilliard, Former BPP Leader, Bids for West Oakland Council Seat includes a black-and-white close-up of a dark-skinned man’s face with a caption that reads: “David Hilliard, former Chief of Staff of the Black Panther Party and candidate for West Oakland’s Third District.” Two short columns of text are under the photo and caption. To the right of the photo are two longer columns of text, under which is a box with a white text heading in a black background that reads: “Inside this Issue.” Under this heading is a list of stories that can be found on subsequent pages of the newspaper: “Mumia: The Snitch Factor, The Second Rise of Black Conservatism, Grass-roots Campaign Stalls Genocide Bill, Artist Corner: Johnny Otis’ Life/Letter, Captive Audience: Capitalism and Genocide.”


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