The Archive of Urban Futures
The Afterlife of Urban Renewal The Living Archive Reclaim and Remain

How did we get here?

In our consideration of the afterlife of urban renewal, we think about the relationship between the past and the present-day as it relates to Oakland. In particular, we examine historical procedures, plans, and policies that had a direct impact on the development of Oakland, particularly West Oakland. That means we look to federal, state, county, and municipal policies over time, like eminent domain, and determine the lasting impact of these policies. Our goal is to pull together an assortment of primary sources to reconstruct a history of Black life in Oakland that not only exposes the acts of violence brought against the Black community, but honors, celebrates, and reasserts authority over the spaces Black Oaklanders cultivated. We will begin to reconstruct a foundation for the current efforts to reclaim space in West Oakland.

A 1946 map of West Oakland, overlaid with modern-day infrastructure, including freeways, BART lines, and HOLC color lines. The orange regions of the map show the locations of vacant or parking lots where homes once stood.