West Oakland

Causes, Effects and Best Practices


Todd Harvey, Desiree Espinoza, Jeremy Hays, Julia Friskin, B. D. Howard, Chris Huynh, Pitch Pengasawat, Eathen Guss, George Kao, Lisa Russ, Jonathan Fearn, Radhika Kunamneni, Egon Terplan, Jonathan Lau, Bao-Tran Truong


Fred Blackwell

Heather McCulloch

This paper was written as a graduate course project in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley Fall 1999



Chapter 1: Causes of Gentrification

Section I: External Causes of Gentrification
Section II, Local Factors: A) the General role of the city, 10k, Waterfront Development, and Army Base Redevelopment
Section II, Local Factors: B) City Specific Policies, Tenant Protections, Home Ownership, and Zoning
Section III: The Community as an Intervening Variable for Gentrification Forces
Chapter II: Effects of Gentrification
Key Findings
General Effects of Gentrification
Residents' views of gentrification
Potential Strengths
Chapter III: Best Practices



In the Bay Area, there's certainly going to be a lot more cars. There's going to be certainly a million more people. There will be more congestion getting into San Francisco, particularly when so many thousands of parking spaces are removed in the next few months. So there's all sorts of reasons why people should move to Oakland instead of fighting all the urban congestion that you're going to have here.
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown
Either you want gentrification or you want slumification.
Paraphrasing of Mayor Brown at a community meeting

Brief Background History of West Oakland

West Oakland has often been a site for new residents. The neighborhood's location on rail lines, next to the Port and downtown Oakland, and just across from San Francisco has provided many generations of workers with affordable homes in a sunny and convenient environment. Recently, these same qualities of affordability and location have begun to attract additional attention to West Oakland. Many residents and observers now believe that West Oakland is in the process of gentrifying. This report analyzes the process of gentrification in West Oakland and demonstrates that gentrification is indeed occurring, though is in its early stages.

In the first chapter, the authors explore the causes of the gentrification process in West Oakland. In the second chapter, the authors characterize what the effects of gentrification have been thus far on the community and describe the neighborhood's particular vulnerabilities to gentrification. In the third chapter, the authors discuss best practices in different communities to combat gentrification. In a final chapter, the authors identify particular recommendations to the community as it confronts the causes and effects of gentrification.

Chapter 1: Causes of Gentrification

In this chapter, we review the causes of gentrification and discuss significant intervening variables that may contribute to gentrification in the West Oakland context. Gentrification, for the purposes of this paper is the process by which poor and working- class residents, usually communities of color are displaced from neighborhoods by rising costs and other forces directly related to an influx of new, wealthier, and often white residents. This displacement is usually accompanies by: an almost complete shift in the cultural identity of a neighborhood and its residents.

From doing a survey of the literature, we have determined that gentrification in the Bay Area is largely caused by an inadequate supply of housing to accommodate the number of people drawn to the region by the Bay Area economy along with other policies and practices which have weakened West Oakland through disinvestment.

There are two categories of intervening variables that effect how the external causes of gentrification play out in West Oakland. The intervening variables can be divided up into two sets of actors. The first family of intervening variables is the public institutions in the City of Oakland. This includes the Mayor, the Planning Department, the Redevelopment office, and other public sector entities. The second family of intervening variables is the community. When referring to "the community", we mean civic society in West Oakland including cultural, faith, political, and social institutions as well as unaffiliated residents who reside in West Oakland. How the City and community respond to external gentrification forces results in how those forces effect West Oakland.

In Section I, we describe the external forces that drive gentrification. In Section II, we explore the role the City of Oakland plays in the context of these external forces and discuss its probable effects, specifically focusing on how actions of the City of Oakland effect displacement. In Section III, we explore the role of the community in responding to gentrification forces.

Section I: External Causes of Gentrification

The gentrification pressures on a community such as West Oakland do not come from within. Gentrification is by nature the effect of a wider set of circumstances on a community vulnerable to outside pressures. This section will attempt to catalogue some of the most apparent and immediate external forces - such as regional housing shortages, broad economic trends, and public policies - which cause wealthier, often white newcomers to find the predominantly African-American community of West Oakland an attractive place to live.

Global Forces
The broad changes in the world economy since World War II have meant the loss of manufacturing and industrial jobs in America which were the traditional livelihood for many West Oaklanders. These jobs have been replaced by low-wage service jobs, often located in new suburban developments, and not as easily accessed by West Oaklanders. The change to a service-based economy in the United States has taken out some of the main financial supports from West Oakland and has thereby left the community more vulnerable to the forces of gentrification. (1)
Predominant Land Use Patterns
Also since about the time of the World War II Era, there have been major changes in prevailing development patterns and corresponding government policies that have combined to favor newer, mostly low-density suburban development. Since that time, there have been corresponding investments in the infrastructure needed for a transportation system based on the individually owned automobile. While federal, state and local governments have all dedicated a considerable portion of American tax dollars to highways and roads, they have not expanded or maintained the nation's public transit system.

The above factors initiated disinvestment in older urban areas and a shift of public resources to newly developed areas. Also, the strong dependence on the automobile and the absence of sufficient public transit alternatives have prevented many low- income families who cannot afford to own a vehicle from accessing jobs and even commercial centers in the suburbs. Dominant land use patterns have weakened communities like West Oakland through lack of investment (in schools, transit, economic development, etc.), and have left residents with fewer options for accessible employment. Cheap real estate and lack of economic control by residents help set the stage for gentrification. (2)

Federal Policies
A certain amount of affordable housing could be lost In West Oakland when homeowners have the opportunity to opt out of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 housing program. About 20% of the total of California's 111,000 Section 8 housing units could be lost due to owners opting out of this program. (3)
State Policies
Besides state investments and policies that have contributed to the predominant land use patterns of the latter portion of the twentieth century, the State of California has at least one peculiarities which exacerbates the gentrification pressures on a community like West Oakland.

In particular, the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 affected local governments in three main ways, effectively deincentivizing the production of housing. Proposition 13 limited property tax increases, required a two thirds voting majority for the approval of special taxes, and allowed the State Legislature to collect and allocate property taxes to local governments. Other Propositions (4,62,and 218) imposed limits on taxation and spending by both local governments and the state. The state experienced a severe budget crunch in the early 1990's and used it's power to allocate property taxes to shore up the state budget, shifting approximately $3.6 billion annually away from local governments. (4)

Local governments are understandably starved for revenue, especially discretionary income because property taxes come to them from the state with mandates for how the money must be spent. Because of the other constraints on their ability to raise taxes, the only way for local governments to capture more revenue is by trying to increase the sales taxes collected in their jurisdiction through increased retail sales. Not only do local governments receive little if any fiscal benefit from zoning for housing instead of other uses such as commercial use, it often costs more for local governments to provide public services (like schools, roads, water and sewer service) to new developments than the increase in revenue that more housing brings. (5)

The resulting situation is what many refer to as the "fiscalization of land use" or land use decisions which are not based on local needs, but on budgetary considerations alone. Local governments have little incentive to encourage housing within their jurisdictions. What they are indirectly encouraged to support because of their dependence on sales taxes is sprawling retail development which brings low-wage jobs and increased dependence on the automobile, and is often bitterly fought for with public subsidies for developers. Giveaways to developers further strain local governments, take money away from public services, and foster an atmosphere of competition instead of cooperation between cities of the same region.(6)

The disincentives for local governments to zone for housing and the general reluctance to approve multi-family affordable housing units add to the pressure of gentrification in some very important, yet behind the scenes ways. There is little reason for local governments to encourage the building of housing that is affordable for low-income people or would-be gentrifiers. Commercial and sometimes industrial centers grow, creating jobs, but exporting their housing needs to other areas. The places that absorb the influx of people brought to a region by jobs are either vacant, underdeveloped land or communities like West Oakland that have good, relatively affordable housing stock and are within commuting distance of economically booming areas. (7)

Another factor which contributes to the lack of sufficient affordable housing and thereby gentrification, is the lack of a guaranteed state revenue source for affordable housing. (8)

Regional Dynamics
As all who live in the Bay Area are painfully aware, finding housing within one's budget is one of the toughest challenges to meet. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments as referenced by the California Futures Network:

· Between the end of 1995 and late 1997, rents rose an average of 33.3 percent in San Francisco, 29.1 percent in Santa Clara County, 24.6 percent in San Mateo County, and 16.9 percent in Marin County. (9)

Although there are many factors working together to put pressure on West Oakland to gentrify, probably the greatest single cause is the problem of supply and demand. There is simply not enough housing and certainly not enough affordable housing to meet the Bay Area population's needs. Probably the most significant factor contributing to regional population growth and the jobs/housing imbalance is job growth in Silicon Valley. According to the Housing Solutions Report sponsored by two Bay Area organizations,

· While 2 jobs were created for every new home in Silicon Valley in the 1980s, approximately 3 jobs have been created for every new home in the region during the 1990s. (10)

· The job-rich sub-region of Northwest Santa Clara County produced 2 jobs for every new home built in the 1980's, but approximately 9 jobs for every new home built in the 1990's. Southern San Mateo County produced 0.7 jobs for every new home in the 1980's, but an estimated 7 new jobs for every new home built in the 1990's. (11)

The shortage of housing and the lack of affordable housing in Silicon Valley causes moderate-income people to look to other Bay Area cities for housing. San Francisco, Oakland, and other East Bay cities then have to accommodate these homebuyers while the lowest income residents are displaced and forced into the least desirable, least expensive housing options with poor access to jobs and commercial centers.

As stated in There Goes the Neighborhood, Urban Habitat Program's report on Gentrification, "The biggest single problem is a mismatch of supply and demand. Working to assure an adequate supply of affordable housing at the regional level seems to be at least as important as focusing effort on resisting development at the neighborhood scale." (12)

Another regional factor related to the production of affordable housing (or lack thereof) is non-enforcement of what are commonly referred to as the state's Fair Share Housing Law. (13) According to this regulation (Government Code Section 65584), regional Councils of Government are required to determine what the fair amount of affordable housing is that each jurisdiction should provide. (14) Unfortunately, there are no penalties for cities that do not fulfill their affordable housing obligations.

Smart Growth
There is a new movement for land use reform which hopes to solve or at least ameliorate the inter-related problems caused by the dominant land use patterns of the last half-century like traffic congestion and lack of mobility, deteriorating urban centers, the spread of sprawl, the loss of open space, the location mismatch between jobs and housing, and the lack of sufficient affordable housing. It is called "smart growth" or sometimes sustainable development. Smart growth calls for directing development into existing urban centers and could help reinvigorate communities like West Oakland which have suffered from disinvestment.

As Carl Anthony states in There Goes the Neighborhood, "Those who support Smart Growth promote investment in existing urban communities and older suburban neighborhoods. If this investment is designed to enhance the quality of life for existing residents through a community-driven process, then Smart Growth will be a positive opportunity for low income communities and communities of color. Not only can Smart Growth be an opportunity to stop gentrification, but it can be the basis for developing an agenda for community stability." (15) However, without corresponding efforts to provide affordable housing and ensure that the benefits of urban reinvestment flow to existing residents, smart growth could further exacerbate the problem of displacement.

1) Although external factors may be the main cause of gentrification, local threats are more immediate and easier to influence. Be wary of spending too much time and energy on tackling external forces before local mechanisms for preventing gentrification have been put in place.

2) Educate community members about the broader forces that contribute to the threat of displacement in West Oakland.

3) Form alliances with or monitor the activities of existing coalitions and organizations already tackling the problems listed above including:

· Other Bay Area community groups fighting gentrification

· Urban Habitat Program

· Association of Bay Area Governments

· Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development

· California Futures Network

Section II, Local Factors: A) the General role of the city, 10k, Waterfront Development, and Army Base Redevelopment

Local Policies
We argue that existing local policies and the practices of community development in West Oakland are accelerating the vulnerability of West Oakland towards gentrification and displacement caused by the non-local factors such as regional dynamics.

Policy formulation process is critical to the understanding how local agenda has been shaped by various power structure and interests. A number of local policies reflect various strategies the City uses to achieve the goal. Local factors include the agendas of administrative units that vary from entity to entity. Some policies of the City emphasize direct service provision while others focus on the regulatory and enabling role of the city and leave the actual implementation into the hands of private developer.

In this report we view the 10K Initiative as the principle driving force behind the current City administration drives for revitalization. We view Housing and Land Use Policies as the direct policy from the City that effects West Oakland gentrification and displacement. Moreover, Waterfront Development and Army Base Development are other policies that the City plays important, but not fully control, role in affecting West Oakland due to the proximity of port and army base to the community. Last, there are city wide policies which despite the fact that they are not targeting West Oakland in particular, still play an indirect role to the gentrification and displacement trend of the city. For example: the crime prevention campaign, school board, and cultural events that promote diversity in the city. These policies may be of important in promoting the image of the city to attract more direct investment and new people into the city.

Local policies also vary in terms of timing. Some policies are in the implementation stage while others are in the formulation stage. Housing and land use policies and many other city-wide policies are in the implementation stage, while Waterfront and Army Base Development are in the formulation stage.

We believe that by addressing and correcting this local policy factor, it is expected that gentrification and displacement in West Oakland will be slowed down and brought into the control of community.

The 10K Initiative
The 10K Initiative was proposed in the Fall of 1999 by Mayor Jerry Brown as a four year goal of attracting 10,000 new residents to Downtown Oakland to revitalize its physical, economic, and cultural environment. According to City estimates, to reach a goal of 10,000 new residents approximately 6,000 new units are needed. However, the City looked at this initiative not only as a housing initiative, but the way to create an environment that is conducive to residential development by transforming the downtown into a more livable space that incorporates streetscapes, parks, commercial, retail and other amenities.

To implement this vision, the City is encouraging developers to propose plans to build up underutilized downtown sites as high density condominium or rental housing with ground floor commercial uses and public and/or private parking facilities. Recently, the City via the Redevelopment Agency, has put four significant development sites (Preservation Park III, the Fire Alarm Building near Lake Merritt, the Housewives Market Block in Old Oakland, and the Chinatown Hotel II) up for bid. The City will processed proposals and made recommendations to the Agency. The City selected developers who demonstrates the appropriate qualifications and commitment for producing a successful project. After the Redevelopment Agency Board has approved selection of a Developer for a given project, the Developer will enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the Agency, under which the Developer will be required to make a good faith cash deposit and commence good faith negotiation for a Disposition and development Agreement (DDA). During DDA negotiation, the Developer will also be required to initiate project and environmental impact analysis.

Currently, the Mayor has won the majority approval from the council to approve the proposal by the developers that would add 610 units of mostly market-rate housing to Oakland's downtown skyline, including a 22-story tower near Lake Merritt and a 234- unit complex in Old Oakland.

Since the 10K initiative involved more than housing policy, several city- wide policies by the city may be considered as complementary parts of the initiative. This includes the crime prevention and community police campaign, the restructuring of school board, and many cultural affair promoting the diversity and cultural pride of Oakland; such as sponsoring the Chinatown festival, a gay pride event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Stonewall, Oakland Scenic Tour, and the Oakland Blues Heritage Festival.

In the next section, Waterfront Development and Army Base Development projects were selected to discuss in detail as potentially supplementary local policies that specifically have a spatial effect towards the vulnerability of West Oakland's gentrification and displacement due to the proximity of the project to the community.

Waterfront Development
Apart from situating in West Oakland and being responsible for seaport and airport facility of Oakland, the Port also owns and manages its own real estate such as the Jack London Square which is very famous as an entertainment area of Oakland.

Currently the Port has begun looking for a developer who will construct a series of new buildings on the underdeveloped land within the area. The Port's vision for an expanded Jack London Square includes a towering, luxury hotel on the estuary, an entertainment and retail complex at the foot of Broadway, and a rubber-wheeled trolley to shuttle visitors between the waterfront and downtown.

Currently Waterfront Development Project, which is still in the visionary level, is facing two major challenge. Firstly, there has been the Estuary Policy Plan which is a participatory document that lays out the groundwork for transforming the industrial waterfront into a people-friendly place. The Jack London Neighborhood Association is charging that the Port is violating the spirit and intent of the Estuary Policy Plan which was drawn up by a coalition of local activists, environmentalists, city and port planners and developers. Also Neighbors complain that the proposed building by the Port are too large and too densely packed together, blocking sight lines and limiting people's access to the water front.

Secondly, there is a tension and uneasiness in the relationship between the City and the Port in which the City would like to gain influence over the Port and its real estate projects. This is because administratively, the Port of Oakland operates under the Port of Oakland Commission. According to the City Charter, the commission consists of seven Port Commissioners who must be residents of the city can be removed from office only with the concurrence of six of the nine members of the city council, who must ratify their initial appointment by the mayor. In this regards, the Port operates almost independently from the City.

Currently, over the tension between the Port and the City the Port finally proposed the new proposal to change jurisdictional boundary temporarily. The proposal would require all new projects in the Jack London District to be approved by the City's Planning Commission, with appeals going to the City Council. The Port will retain ownership of the land, and will essentially proceed like any other develop the City deals with.

Army Base Development
Oakland Army Base was officially closed on September 1999, as one among the last four military installations to be shuttered in Alameda County due to the nation's post Cold War military downsizing. The base was designated for closure in 1995 by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The decision was contested by Army Officials, who said the base was the only Army-owned West Coast property and was in a strategic location.

Since then the city has been working to come up with a reuse plan and the Army gradually has moved the base's functions. A reuse plan, approved by local officials, calls for the Port of Oakland to expand on behalf the 422 acre base, in the area west of Maritime Street in West Oakland. City officials are currently negotiating with Opus West, a developer that hopes to build a light industrial and business "eco-park" at the base.

Main Finding: Reflecting on the 10k initiative, the Waterfront Development, and the Army Base Development:

"Market-rate units are needed to bolster the tax base ... If you can figure out a way to create a social utopia, I will consider it. But absent that, we've got to go with the flow, and the flow should be (to get) capital to pay for all these other things like school". (Jerry Brown, Mayor of the City of Oakland City, 30 November 1999 quoted in Oakland Tribune 2 December 1999)

In most of the City-level policies discussed above, we found that despite the community involvement from West Oakland residents in the policy formulation process, it seems that the community's concern over improvement of existing resident has not been placed as the first priority in the city agenda which is currently dominated by 2 main issues: 1) the development driven agenda of attracting new resident under market based development and 2) the reducing role of city government as the direct service provider into the "enabler". In general the local policies just discussed does not address the issue of displacement of the poor residents while accelerating displacement by focusing on developments that cater to and attract "new" people to make Oakland their home.

According to the approval of the 610 market rate housing unit as part of the 10K plan, it is now estimated that only 4.6 million dollars from sales of the four sites will be allocated to affordable housing project.

The role of the City of Oakland under the current Brown administration is very interesting. In an attempt to reduce the direct service provision, the city under the strong mayor system is aggressively trying to influence over many semi-autonomous city administration agencies, such as the school board and the port commission to make sure all policies must be conformed to the city agenda, which basically aim at attracting the new residents as a spill over effect from the rest of the booming Bay area.

As a result, both development driven agenda from the city and the attempt of the city to influence many semi-autonomous agencies via direct appointment of the commissions by the mayor do not guarantee that the less benefit resident in the city, particularly the West Oakland resident, will be heard in the formation of the city agenda.

Section II, Local Factors: B) City Specific Policies, Tenant Protections, Home Ownership, and Zoning

City Specific Policies that Impact Displacement
The dominant economic development strategies in Oakland have emphasized attracting investment over preventing displacement. Oakland's poor self image has left it acting as though it has little clout with developers and other potential investors, leading the city to focusing on luring business in rather than making many demands. Additionally, Oakland's poorest residents have not had the political power to create and enforce policy that protects their needs.

This section is divided into three sections: 1. Protection for Renters; 2. Opportunities for home ownership; 3. Zoning

1. Protection for Renters
Several city ordinances and efforts impact how easily residents are displaced. Since 79.5% of West Oakland's residents are renters (in the West Oakland Community Development District), that population is particularly vulnerable. Additionally, those who do own homes in West Oakland face the challenge of affording upkeep, especially making needed structural improvements after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

Two interrelated ordinances impact tenants: rent control and eviction law. The current rent control ordinance (Ordinance #11758) allows for 3% increase per year during a given tenancy. However, buildings are registered as official rentals only by the landlord or tenant's initiative (as opposed to the city). Therefore, if a landlord fails to register his building, the tenants are not protected unless they initiate the registration process. Landlords can also petition to raise the rent more, and the Residential Rent Arbitration Board (RRAB) is heavily weighted to home owners (1 landlord, 1 tenant, and 4 who are neither which means they are private home owners) and almost always approves increases.

The key weaknesses of the ordinance are how it overlaps with eviction law. Tenants can be given a 30 day eviction notice for no cause. As long as an eviction is not retaliatory or discriminatory, it is legal. Once the tenant is out, the landlord can raise the rent by at least 6% (if the building is not registered they can raise it much higher). Evictions for nonpayment of rent are viewed as voluntary vacancies and so landlords can raise the rent any amount.

According to Sentinel Fair Housing, there has been a 300% increase in 3 day and 30 day notices during the last 15 months in Oakland.

· Rent control ordinance needs to be strengthened, requiring landlords to register and shifting the balance of power on the RRAB.

· Eviction law needs to be improved urgently, adding a just cause clause, and combining rent control with eviction so that land lords cannot raise the rent after an eviction.

2. Opportunities for Home Ownership:
The Oakland Homebuyers Assistance Alliance has recently formed, and is a public-private initiative designed to expand home ownership opportunities for all Oakland residents but especially for low and moderate income families.

With a partnership that includes Bank of America, CEDA, LISC, Fannie Mae, and others, OHAA's stated goals are to increase home ownership in Oakland by 5%, originate more than 10,000 new home mortgages, and spend over $1 billion provided by Bank of America.

While the goal of reaching low and moderate income people with special first time home buyers programs in laudable, and this will be an important tool for some Oaklanders, many of West Oakland's current residents will not be able to afford these loans. According to EBALDC, home ownership programs can only work for people who earn at least 50% of the area's median income. Since West Oakland's median income of 23, 148 is less than 60% of the Bay Area's median income, about half of West Oakland's residents do not earn enough to qualify.

One of the goals of the program is to use "new and creative mortgage programs designed to support the city's targeted neighborhood revitalization plans". From conversations with CEDA and others, it appears that these plans would influence how loans were made both for new homes and maintenance and repair.

Key points in the program are about what kinds of preferences will be given to current residents (so far this does not seem to be incorporated into the goals), and what income levels and credit status will be required (apparently this is not yet determined).

With loans for maintenance and rehabilitation notoriously difficult to obtain, and too low (maximum 10,000) when one is able, this is a critical problem for low income home owners. Between 1995 and 1998, there were approximately 499 foreclosures in West Oakland. With the pressure to sell to speculators (bill boards with toll free numbers exclaiming "We buy houses fast!" and difficulty in obtaining home loans, selling quickly becomes tempting.

· Incorporate preferences to current residents into the OHAA's programs

· Track loans to ensure that low income people are being reached/given priority

· Increase access to loans for rehabilitation

· Begin a campaign to discourage home owners from selling to speculators

3. Zoning, permitting, and incentives:
A. Live-work: Originally conceived as affordable housing and work space for artists, usually built by the artists in old warehouses or other industrial space, live-work spaces are now booming business for developers and contractors who use the special zoning possibilities of live-work to build residential units, most of which are not used for work or affordable. The current the city-wide policy on live-work space (Oakland City Council Resolution #68516) was passed in 1991, and is merely encourage, not at all regulatory, about this type of development.

B Mitigation fees and requirements: Developers are not currently required to pay into any special funds in exchange for the opportunity to do business in Oakland (as they are in San Francisco and other cities). Housing developers are also not required to build a certain percentage low income housing within each of their projects over a certain size (as they are in San Francisco).

C. Incentives for the development of non-profit housing: It is difficult for the many local Housing Development Corporations to collaborate with the city to receive the necessary financing and partnership to build projects. While EBALDC, Acorn, Bridge, and Jubilee West are all involved in West Oakland, most or all are extremely interested in building more projects and have access to ample outside funding. Difficulties in working with the City of Oakland prevent them from being able to build all the affordable housing for which there is a need, and for which funding does exist.

· Update ordinance to regulate new live-work as residential.

· Work with city to require developers to build 25% low income housing in all new buildings over 10 units.

· Pressure the City to provide funding and support to build and maintain nonprofit affordable housing.

Section III: The Community as an Intervening Variable for Gentrification Forces

Clearly, residents of West Oakland are not responsible for the external forces that lead to speculation and possibly gentrification. However, we believe their ability to respond to these forces does have an impact on how these forces will effect West Oakland. All else equal, a strong unified community has more power than a weak fragmented community. With unity comes more of an ability to influence local political power structures, more of an ability to leverage resources such as foundation dollars, and more of an ability to accomplish its own projects.

West Oakland suffers from many social problems ranging from blight, poor schools, drugs, alcohol, unemployment, and underemployment to environmental racism. These are clearly historically rooted complex problems. There is a plurality of crisis in W. Oakland and from this, a plurality of competing agendas.

West Oakland might be better understood as a collection of competing communities rather than one unified community. Though many people in West Oakland clearly identify themselves geographically to West Oakland or sub-neighborhoods of West Oakland, in recent history, there has not been a West Oakland community that shares a common focused vision.

A lack of economic, symbolic, and political power in a neighborhood makes the struggle between groups that are seeking the little power that is available on the neighborhood level that much more charged. Too often in West Oakland, groups working for the benefit of the community become competitors instead of allies. Obstacles to community groups working together include: the tendency for groups to focus on working towards their narrow self-interest, competing egos between key leaders of different groups, a lack of an overall unifying focused vision that all groups share, and a history of a lack of unity between community groups.

Given the history of unresolved tensions between competing groups in West Oakland in general, given that West Oakland has been a historical victim of planning, and given the coordinator from the San Francisco Foundation is not an outsider; it was important for the Hewlett Initiative to establish legitimacy. It is clear that the Hewlett Initiative has spent its first year establishing its legitimacy and promoting community building. Without trust and a unified vision, a set of understood procedures was established. This provided provide agreed upon fair rules for competing interests. This was important in providing a legitimate means of negotiating conflicting concerns.

After $5,000,000 was put onto the table, community groups came to make sure that they were represented in order to be able to guide resources to their groups. What brought groups in West Oakland together in the Hewlett Initiative was not a unified focused vision; many groups came in order to acquire funds. Other groups started their participation in the initiative because competing groups participated.

Though a consensus model was sought by the Hewlett Initiative's leadership, the community building process was dominated by local political competition. The competition between groups was clear in the forming of the working groups, especially when working group Chairs with voting privileges were elected. In the initiative's "democratic" and "community building" process, competing groups strategically placed themselves within working groups in order to gain influence over the process through gaining voting members to the Hewlett Initiative's board. The election of representatives for the Community Building process involved community groups using organizing techniques in order to compete to represent their interests. The disruptions, the networking, and the open political organizing are indicators that show that groups were competing for power (most notably West Side Economic Development Center, CWOR, the ACORN housing association, and ACORN).

If the Hewlett initiative's community building effort continues to be based on community groups competing in their narrow self-interest, then they will most likely promote addressing a laundry list of very valid social issues and basically distribute the Hewlett Initiative monies to different groups without putting enough resources into one area to make a difference

As a result of the Hewlett Initiative's efforts, some groups are able to sit at the table and not only tolerate each other, but see each other as assets to the West Oakland community. More needs to be done and no doubt is being done in this area.

One issue that all groups concerned about the current residents of West Oakland have in common is dealing with gentrification forces. Elected leadership of the Initiative is at a key time in history where they have the opportunity to seriously think about how they want West Oakland to be. If they come to the conclusion that revitalization with minimal displacement of current residents is the best way to deal with current gentrification pressures then with this unifying vision in hand, they can focus on strategically addressing the issue.

The Hewlett Initiative is tackling on of the most important challenges to the community of West Oakland. Establishing a unified coalition that is healthily able to deal with internal conflicts creates an entity that is capable of garnering more political power, foundation dollars, and business support. Such an entity, if it had a unifying goal such as promoting revitalization without displacement, would be more able to shape how external gentrification pressures effects residents of West Oakland. The community of West Oakland would have more political influence. Such an entity could focus how it used its resources to address gentrification (see Chapter 3 -Best Practices).

Currently, we are in a very hot housing market and there is a lot of serious speculation going on in West Oakland. It could be possible that there is a gentrification scare like in 1985 when the housing market was extremely hot. If West Oakland is not gentrifying or if it is in the very early stages of gentrification then the community building process has something to offer. It has the potential to strengthen and supports a group or coalition that is capable of strategic action(16). Residents can then have civic community that has more power that they can participate in to advocate and act in their community interest. Community building on a broad neighborhood level is definitely a challenge with competing groups. There definitely are challenges to be overcome in moving beyond money being the primary basis for community groups collaborating. In order to overcome these obstacles it will be necessary to promote relationship building between important stakeholders, promoting financial incentives for collaboration(17), and developing a common focused vision (possibly revitalization without displacement).

If, however, the gentrification process is quickly happening in W. Oakland, then two things need to happen. First, it is essential that the community building process does not take a long time. Community groups need to come together fast. Secondly, it is important for the community to specifically target preventing displacement instead of focusing on revitalization. If the community building takes too long and if the community does not focus on addressing the issue of displacement and focuses on neighborhood improvement then it will in effect help pave the way for gentrification. By promoting revitalization in the midst of regional gentrification pressures without taking on the task of battling displacement is in essence being an active player promoting gentrification.

Participants in the Hewlett Initiative should seriously consider making the mission of the Hewlett Initiative to be to promote revitalization of West Oakland without displacement of current residents. If that were the mission, in a context where revitalization is going to happen and the overarching concern is over displacement, it would be wise to make the major criteria for funding projects be tied to addressing displacement. This could mean that projects would more likely address the problem of land control over quality of life issues.

Conclusion of Chapter I

After examining the role of the city and community groups in responding to external gentrification forces, we believe that both sets of actors have options available to them that would lessen the extent of displacement of poor residents of West Oakland if the gentrification process continues in West Oakland.


Chapter II: Effects of Gentrification

While the process of gentrification has begun in West Oakland, its effects are visible more in changes in cost and in anecdotal evidence than it is in quantitative figures and trends of change. This section combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to begin to describe the effects of gentrification in West Oakland. This section proceeds as follows. First, we describe historic demographic changes in West Oakland. Second, we present our key findings. Third, we describe our methodology. Fourth, we identify what the general effects of gentrification are in a community. Fifth, we discuss examples of the neighborhood's response to neighborhood change. Sixth, we identify West Oakland's vulnerabilities to gentrification. Finally, we discuss the neighborhood's potential strengths as it confronts gentrification.

West Oakland has long had a history of ethnic diversity throughout its lower income areas.

Although today, African-Americans comprise a majority of West Oakland residents, gentrification will displace lower income families across all ethnic lines, including many Latino and South East Asian house holds. Since the 1970s, West Oakland has been undergoing a period of ethnic transformation as low-income residents from diverse backgrounds seeking affordable housing settle in West Oakland. In 1980, the African American population in West Oakland was 89.7% of the neighborhood. In 1990, the African American percentage had declined to 80.4% (1980 and 1990 U.S. Census). Still, despite the change of more than 9%, the overall population decline of African Americans was a decrease of only 1.9%. However, the increase in the population of all the remaining groups indicates that West Oakland has been undergoing an overall shift in its demographic base for at least 20 years. Between 1980 and 1990, Asian/Pacific Islander showed the greatest population change with a growth of 286.0%. The Latino population also increased significantly, a growth of 123.7%. White and Other populations increased in population by 61.9% and 23% respectively. While these trends may have contributed to the displacement of some residents of West Oakland, this process cannot be characterized as gentrification because the new residents were often of low incomes and thus were not part of the process of rising rental rates.

Key Findings

The key findings of this report are that:

· Gentrification in West Oakland is in its early stages and evidence is sporadic

· Some West Oakland residents embrace gentrification while many are not yet fully aware of its impact

· More data is needed both to document the gentrification which has already occurred and on an ongoing basis to monitor the effects of gentrification

· The biggest issue for the neighborhood are its vulnerabilities to gentrification

General Effects of Gentrification

The process of gentrification disrupts both a community's economic and social fabric. The disruption of the economic fabric occurs as there is a revitalization of the ability to realize a significant profit. Property owners, landlords in particular, in gentrifying neighborhoods understand that there is a large discrepancy between what current low-income residents pay and what they can expect from higher income residents now willing to move into the neighborhood. Neil Smith and others have referred to this process as the "rent gap" (Smith, 1996). Recognizing the ability to raise rents and still meet the market demand for housing, landlords have the incentive to evict low-income residents in favor of more affluent tenants who can afford higher rent. Hence, as housing costs rise, the neighborhood demographics change.

From the perspective of the city, there may be a benefit to the rising costs. Thus, one positive effect of economic transformation in gentrification is an increase in the municipal tax base. This economic benefit to the city occurs as new higher-income residents buy property which rises in value and pay higher income taxes due to higher incomes yet happens at the expense of low income residents who are displaced.

The disruption of the social fabric occurs on three levels. First, there is a process of displacement whereby lower income residents are forced to relocate to other housing or other neighborhoods. Second, there is a change in the demographics of the community as the displaced residents are replaced by higher income, often white, residents. Third, new cleavages emerge between the different groups in the neighborhood. For example, cleavages may form between renters and owners as renters face displacement and owners try to maximize their property values. Additional cleavages may form between old residents and new residents.

Understanding the effects of gentrification requires establishing indicators to measure the process of gentrification. Because gentrification is a long-term process, some effects may not be detected until an area has already gentrified. The following list of indicators is meant to identify what data will need to be collected in order to adequately monitor the process of gentrification.

General indicators of gentrification are measurements to observe short-term physical renovations, and long term shifts in the socio-economic demographics. Immediate neighborhood revitalization may be apparent in the restoration of parks, municipal facilities, and housing projects while longer term changes are ones that occur in the population demographics. There are five main areas where measured changes are indicators of gentrification. These areas include changes in services, employment, schools, public safety, welfare assistance and public housing.

Changes in services include the opening of new businesses which cater to a higher wage clientele. Symbols of gentrification often include chain coffee shops and new restaurants. The presence of such new businesses represents a decrease in the market risk of investment in the community due to a market of higher income residents. This reduction in market risk and greater capital investment in businesses is another implication of the Neil Smith "rent gap" concept as the profit potential from investment grows.

Changes in the job market after the progress of gentrification create a shift in the type of employment available. In many gentrifying neighborhoods (or threatened neighborhoods such as West Oakland), there has been a shift during the past two to three decades from job opportunities in factories, shipyards, and military bases to employment in a primarily service-oriented job market. This shift results in an overall drop in household income of former residents. New residents are often more likely to work in higher end management, technical, and computer oriented positions as residents who work in the low wage service and retail sectors are forced to relocate due to the rising cost of living. This change will be followed by an overall rise in household income, property value, and widespread displacement of current residents. In addition, relocation of computer-based companies, and corporate buildings to downtown Oakland will further indicate of gentrification on the basis of employment.

The condition of schools is another indicator of social change characteristic of gentrification. Schools in the gentrifying area are usually run down and dilapidated and lack the funds to hire personnel with the training or experience necessary to compensate for the school's disadvantages. Specific examples of changes in the schools which may be indicators of gentrification include: average reading and math scores, SAT scores, adult literacy rates, attendance to occupancy ratio(18), student per staff member ratio, teacher salaries, and the age and renovation of infrastructure. These changes are however very unlikely to occur in West Oakland in the near future.

The public safety and justice of a residential community is one of the most pertinent factors in evaluating its attractiveness and property value. Since the early 1980's West Oakland has had the reputation of being one of the most dangerous areas of Oakland. Although, drug sales, homicides and overall crime have decreased dramatically over the past decade, many negative images still prevail as a stigma on the area. In order for homes in West Oakland to be sold to suburban higher income families, the area must drop its crime rate and increase the police presence. Substantial, measures of increased public safety may include: Police personnel per 1000 residents, Serious Crimes Solved by Police, Youth Incarcerated or on Parole per 1000 minors, and the Equipment and Vehicle age and maintenance.

Public Assistance of residence in the forms of public housing facilities, section eight housing vouchers, cash benefits, food stamps, and health care, will also be significant indicators of gentrification in West Oakland. People in need of public assistance are most likely those who will be displaced by gentrification processes because of their low incomes. As property values increase, renters in particular will be unable to compete with higher income households who buy properties, as well as single artists, and couples who can afford higher rents. Projects such as Hope VI will also lead to the displacement of lower income households as high density housing projects are demolished and rebuilt as lower density housing facilities with fewer affordable units. The shift from high to low density housing developments will additionally create an overall loss of housing units that will lead to the displacement of additional lower income families. Thus, the decrease in the amount of residents receiving some form of public assistance is an indicator of gentrification.


Because many of the indicators presented above will occur in the future, our study in describing the conditions of gentrification within West Oakland today used other indicators. Our analysis contains information from both qualitative and quantitative sources. For example, the Alameda County Assessors Data from April 1999, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) data, and U.S. Census Department information were aggregated and presented in GIS maps and statistical information. The qualitative sources used for this analysis include interviews with West Oakland community members, local brokers, and city officials. A small survey on rental rates was also conducted for this analysis.

The property holders that were studied were residential property owners. This is important to distinguish because otherwise all property holders would include property that is used for businesses and public uses. Residential property owners are important because they are the main players in this process. They are the players who provide the access to West Oakland. Other players like policy makers are only secondary players.

Residents' views of gentrification

Interviews with West Oaklanders reveal two ends of a spectrum of opinions on gentrification. Some residents fear displacement and radical changes in the cost of living while other residents welcome what they see as neighborhood revitalization and renovations to their once dilapidated section of Oakland. Individual perspectives on neighborhood revitalization and gentrification are usually based on financial status, experience with the housing market in West Oakland, and whether or not someone has a family.

There is not the wholesale sense that the community is transforming immediately. There has yet to be mass displacement of the historic community. In some instances, homes have been sold by white families and bought back by black families or sold by Chinese families and bought by black families.

Some residents identify changes in the neighborhood due to gentrification as positive. These changes include a reduction in violence and drug use, and an increase in safety and property values. Displacement is of less of a concern for residents who own their homes and are concerned with raising their children.

One elderly resident noted that she feels more comfortable walking to the corner store now that there are fewer prostitutes and drug users in the nearby parks. Upon hearing that outsiders are starting to buy homes in the neighborhood, she felt it was a good change and that she would wait for "the top dollar" before she would sell her home.

Chris grew up in West Oakland and now lives in a working class neighborhood in San Leandro. He returns periodically to the community to barbecue with his family. We asked Chris

his feelings on West Oakland. He replied that it has substantially changed since he left. When crime rates were high and his children could not play outside, Chris decided to move his family to San Leandro. Today, Chris said with a big smile on his face, West Oakland is the place to live. Chris mentioned that everyone who lives in the suburbs wants to live in West Oakland because it is five minutes from Downtown, the new federal building is downtown, and most important, crime is down. The park where Chris was barbecuing, he says, was cleaned up. Some of Chris' final words were that he would love to come back to West Oakland but he cannot afford to. Chris brought up the financial restraints preventing from moving back to his former place of residence..

Another resident voiced his disapproval of the city government's concept of neighborhood revitalization, and felt it was detrimental to the cultural integrity within the neighborhoods. Rasheed is a resident and homeowner in West Oakland whose family has been in the community for over thirty years. He has observed the ethnic and cultural changes of the community, as well as the economic and demographic shifts over the past twenty years. He emphasized that although his neighborhood is multicultural, a strong sense of community has developed beyond ethnicity that is unique to that area in West Oakland. He pointed out that the park across the street from his home has been earmarked by Oakland mayor Jerry Brown to become an Oakland historical monument with gates, fences, and heightened police patrols to deter undesirables and derelicts. He commented on how youth and others viewed by police as loiterers and thugs were also residents and part of the community. He claimed that the city was attempting to convert his community into a tourist site, attractive to outsiders, tourists, and speculators. Rasheed pointed out that crime--primarily drug sales, have declined dramatically due to increased police presence. Rasheed concluded that because of the decrease in crime in conjunction with the city's renovations, gentrification and displacement are imminent.

Many of Rasheed's frustrations were related to a sense of powerlessness he felt as an informed homeowner in the midst of displacement of residents who did not understand eviction or foreclosure procedures. Frankie had been evicted from her apartment several weeks ago. Since then, she has been staying with a friend, Denise, who is also a West Oakland resident, and Frankie's next door neighbor. Frankie was evicted because her landlord recognized the potential of his property in West Oakland. Both Denise and Frankie understood that many residents are going to be displaced once Gentrification is in full swing. They insisted that a legal renter's assistance program should be instituted because the local legal programs have proven inadequate for the residents in need of advocacy.

Many residents feel the pressures of income restraints and see the renovations as foreshadowing mass dislocation. Others interviewed brought up conflicting concerns. There is anecdotal evidence that elderly residents are beginning to sell their homes as they seek a return on their investment. In some instances, residents who own several homes are selling them as a bundle to speculators, thus pricing out current residents who could afford a single home. For example, on 5th street near the BART station, an elderly woman is selling her four homes as a group. She is moving to Palo Alto and is kicking her children out of the house. Delores sees the recent neighborhood revitalization as providing her a key to a successful retirement.

Homeowners are all benefiting from the recent boom in West Oakland's real estate market, especially those who were able to purchase homes, then capitalize on the rise in property value. Larry, a resident of West Oakland for 20 years, has noticed the trend that is hitting West Oakland. Larry bought sixty-year-old Victorian for under $100,000 less than three years ago. Over the past nine months Larry has been receiving offers for the property, which continue to rise the longer he refuses to sell. Landlords who previously rented out their properties have also been able to benefit from the rise in property value by evicting tenants in order to increase rents or selling to real estate firms and outside investors willing to buy homes above market value.

In an additional example, an elderly woman is selling her four homes as a group. She is moving to Palo Alto and kicking her children out of the homes. Around the corner, two young lawyers recently bought a Victorian for $140,000 near the BART station. They plan to fully rehabilitate building. This reconstruction will cost tens of thousands of dollars yet neighbors of the lawyers felt the house was only worth $40,000. Hence, their perception of value, although based on daily knowledge of the community, is far below the market level.

In general, West Oakland looks like a vibrant, thriving community that has not been affected by gentrification, yet. The stories that we heard were very interesting, but also gave us a sense of what the community is really like. The new federal building mentioned in several stories is a source for new jobs in the community while crime was also a big story subtopic. The crime rate has gone down and residents perceive as a safer place. The falling crime rate, along with more frequent police patrols, and the improvement of parks and play areas, could possibly foreshadow a change in area demographics. Indeed, West Oakland is a prime target for the process of gentrification to take place. In order to fight a battle one must know both their strengths and weaknesses. We will now outline West Oakland's vulnerabilities.


West Oakland's vulnerabilities to gentrification are numerous. Some are obvious and some deserve closer examination. It is no secret that West Oakland houses a disproportionate number of renters. In fact 80% of all occupied units in West Oakland are renter-occupied. By residents not owning the property that they reside in leaves the land in the hands of those who may not have a stake in the preservation of the community.
The location of West Oakland is another obvious attraction of West Oakland. The neighborhood lies directly across the bay from San Francisco and is centrally located in the East Bay community as well. Furthermore, the neighborhood BART station has four lines running through it, allowing one to travel virtually anywhere the subway goes at any time it runs without long delays. Not only is the West Oakland BART station the last before San Francisco, conversely, it is the first station one reaches when leaving San Francisco. This would significantly reduce the commuting time of many now living in suburbs further from the main business center.
Property values
Low property and housing values also leave West Oakland vulnerable to speculation and higher-income housing seekers. As seen in Figure 1, many of the single-family residential parcels in West Oakland are valued by the County Assessor's office as $70,000 or less. Although many of these parcels most likely will sell for more than their assessed value, land in West Oakland still remains well below comparable land in other regions of the Bay Area.
Low incomes
Related to the low property and housing values is the low median income of West Oakland residents, shown in the Median Household Income chart. When compared to Bay Area residents, those living in West Oakland are overwhelmingly overmatched. In 1990, West Oakland residents earned a median income of $11,529. By comparison, the median income for the Bay Area as a whole was $41,635. By 1998, West Oakland median income increased by 3.2% to $14,788 while Bay Area median incomes increased 3.8% to $56,276. The 1998 median income of $14,788 has further implications however. A resident making that amount could only purchase a home for $45,760(19). Many residents of West Oakland are unable to purchase homes in their neighborhood at the assessed value of homes, many of which are significantly below the asking price. One young resident said, "With our incomes, no one from here can afford to buy these homes."
Quality of housing stock
Further vulnerabilities include the quality and type of the housing stock of West Oakland. Many of the homes in the neighborhood are 100-year-old Victorians. These homes appeal greatly to middle- and upper-income homebuyers with families. Not only are they high quality, but also they are a tremendous value, selling for much less than smaller, or less spacious homes in San Francisco.
Land ownership
A look at the land use map of West Oakland illustrates another vulnerability of the neighborhood. The large amount of both industrial and public land is worrisome because it is land that is not in the hands of West Oakland residents and can be compromised and transferred wholesale to the private market for gentrifiers. For example, the federal government, with its HOPE VI program, is systematically demolishing public housing around the country and replacing it with privately-run, mixed income developments. Not only are public housing residents being dispersed, but also many of those once living in the public housing units will no longer be able to afford the rents of the replacement development. Although some of the units are earmarked for "affordable housing," these units are typically targeted for populations making 30-50% of area median income. Many in public housing projects make 0-20% of area median income.
Vacant property
Over 11% of the parcels in West Oakland lie vacant. Although this may not be a large amount in comparison to the rest of the city, it is a starting point for acquisition by non-profit developers and community residents. This vacant land represents a vulnerability to West Oakland because eager speculators too can purchase it or developers not tied to the community. Locking it up with community-based organizations can do much to fortify the position of current residents.
Of all the residents of West Oakland, renters are the most vulnerable to the effects of gentrification due to weak tenant eviction laws in Oakland and the lack of vacancy rent control. In the 1990 US Census, renters made up the vast majority of all West Oakland residents. Approximately 80% of West Oaklanders rent. An examination of rental rates from 1980 to the present reveals that the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment has increased significantly in the last two years.

As shown on the 1980-1999 Median Rent chart, average rent increased 15% from 1997 to 1998. Between 1998 and 1999, rents increased another 14%. Current average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $625 a month (Oakland Tribune and Homefinder Services, 1999). A West Oakland family which earns the median income of $14,784 per year, or $1,232 monthly, would have to pay 51% of their before tax income to afford this one bedroom apartment. If rent continues to increase at this rate, most, if not all of the current renters in West Oakland will be forced out.

Potential Strengths

Despite the above vulnerabilities, West Oakland has several strengths which must be recognized. These potential strengths are critical in order to understand what are the tools a community has when trying to sustain its authenticity during a process of gentrification. The three strengths are high owner-occupancy, existing relationships and networks, and the current affordability of housing.
Owner Occupancy
Although this has been a source of divisiveness, homeowners in this community can be seen as an asset. Figures 1-4 show GIS maps describing land use in the community. Of the 576 single-family homeowners in the West Oakland community, roughly half of these homes are owner occupied. West Oakland is traditionally known as a renter community. Although this may be true, the homeowners occupy many of the single-family homes that exist. The other renters that live in West Oakland do not only reside in the other half of single family units, but they also live in multi-family residential units. This indicates that there is a strong historical home ownership based community that needs to be leveraged when building coalitions. However, this can only be leveraged when these homeowners are not only seen as adversaries, but those that may also have the same interests of improving the quality of life in the community while maintaining the existing social fabric.
Relationships and networks
In conducting interviews in this community and those that have an interest in the changing nature of West Oakland, this is one strength that persistently arose. The relationships and networks that exist in this community are strong ones. They have a link to the rich history of West Oakland and understand by far what exactly the assets are that exist in this community. This creates a comparative advantage in terms of access to new information, access to local business people and brokers with local interests, and most importantly, a sense of trust exists which is key in organizing and controlling the power of this process.
Property is still affordable
The potential for West Oaklander's to take advantage of these opportunities exists in that gentrification is at a very early stage in this process. Renters and other property owners that have an interest in maintaining the social fabric of this community have to enter the discussions of how to acquire properties for the interests of the community. Access to key information like first time homebuyer programs is essential in taking advantage of the affordability in West Oakland.


In summary, gentrification is a gradual process. Our findings lead us to assert that gentrification is in its very early stages in West Oakland. Current evidence does not support the belief that property values are skyrocketing, nor of massive racial and economic migration into the neighborhood, or wholesale displacement of current residents. Anecdotal evidence states that the displacement of low- income residents and the purchasing of homes by affluent families from outside West Oakland is occurring sporadically. What we have found is that West Oakland is extremely vulnerable to gentrification due to numerous factors such as location, low median income of residents, and low property values. As mentioned above, West Oakland possesses a number of strengths that can slow and perhaps manage the process of gentrification that may occur. To gain insight as to how other communities around the nation have dealt with the threat and impact of gentrification, we will now examine other best practices.


Chapter III: Best Practices

The following are some case studies we came upon as we looked at other neighborhoods attempting to counter gentrification and displacement. All of them were successful at some point in their campaign, but some of the neighborhoods did not ultimately change to the degree the activists had hoped. Even though their methods were varied, all of them utilized direct-action organizing and campaigning. We hope these case studies inspire the reader and stimulate ideas for how your own neighborhoods might organize against the increasing plight of gentrification.

The initial research was done by George Kao (library) and Chris Huynh (Internet)--further research was done by each person according to their case studies; the Chicago & Bloomington studies were done by Jeremy Hays; the Harlem and Suffolk studies by Chris Huynh; the Tenderloin and Santa Fe studies by Jon Lau; the Lower East Side study by Radhika Kunamneni; integration and formatting of the paper by George and Chris. The Presentation was prepared and given by: Jeremy, Radhika, Jon, and George.


The South Loop Development without Displacement Campaign (SLDWDC)

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)

Chicago Affordable Housing Coalition (CAHC)

The South Loop has been transformed by Chicago's shift from industrial economy to service economy. Warehouses and industrial buildings that used to serve the Loop (CBD) have been converted to upscale housing just 10 minutes from downtown. The city of Chicago has encouraged redevelopment of the area by granting subsidies to developers for infrastructure improvement. In 1990 a tax increment financing (TIF) ordinance further stimulated mixed-use redevelopment in the area. Mayor Daley now lives in the South Loop, but increasing land costs and the demolition of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels have displaced many of the indigenous low-income African American community.

The Campaign

The CCH and CAHC, responding to a lack of citizen input in the redevelopment process, launched a community planning process in the fall of 1994. The planning process evolved into the SLDWDC whose goals were as follows:

· 20% of all new housing should be set aside for low and very low-income families.

· Existing low-income housing in the South Loop should be preserved and improved. Non-profit developers should have the opportunity to rehabilitate and manage single room occupancy hotels (SROs).

· A mandate should be implemented stating that the property developers of Central Station set aside 20% of the units for low and moderate-income tenants.

· South Loop small businesses should be supported and preserved.

· 50% of all jobs created by South Loop development should be set aside for women, minorities and homeless Chicagoans.

The campaign brought pressure directly on Mayor Daley by protesting outside his new South Loop home every Tuesday for two months leading up to the 1995 mayoral campaign. They also dumped horse manure at the proposed site of a new development that did not meet their low-income accessibility demands. Other in-your-face tactics included protesting at the 1996 Democratic Convention and protesting at the mayor's office.

The results

The city adopted a policy that mandated a 20% set aside for affordable housing in any new market-rate, owner-occupied housing produced in the South Loop using TIF funds. Two new SRO hotels, one with an attached worker center, were constructed in the area by non-profit CDCs with financial assistance from the city. Another was scheduled to be built. A coalition developed to organize on the state level to prevent TIF misuse, to allow the public to monitor their creation and use, and prevent the displacement that TIFs often cause.


· This was a solid direct action campaign coupled with specific demands (affordable housing set-asides, preservation of SRO hotels as a housing option).

· The message was very clear: "Development without Displacement."

· The 1995 mayoral elections provided a political lever for the SLDWDC.

· The community outreach was very broad via the planning process.

· The campaign was largely the result of a collaboration between two major organizations which were already well established (i.e. had staff) and linked to larger (state, national, international) networks.

· The campaign took two years and cost approximately $250,000 in staff hours and stipends to homeless activists.

· Enforcement of the 20% policy will likely be an issue as developers have not yet built any residential units and therefore aren't required to build affordable housing.

Despite the success of the campaign, displacement has not significantly slowed in the South Loop. A more comprehensive program may be needed to fully stem the tide of gentrification and displacement.


· (The Neighborhood Works July/Aug 1997)

· toc.htm#TopOfPage (UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 90, November 1997)

· Interview, John Donahue, Executive Director, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless


According to 1996 article in Shelterforce Online, "more than one-third of Bloomington residents live in poverty, and the city has one of the highest housing costs in the state. More than one-fourth of the city's residents pay more than 50% of their income for housing. Throughout the 1980s and early 90s, low-rent downtown apartments disappeared, one building at a time, as developers speculated on the future value of housing in the city. Gentrification moved forward unabated with the helping hand of city government, which allocated HOME and CDBG dollars to developers who in turn displaced hundreds of low-income people. In one particularly terrible incident, 60 families living in a low-rent trailer park were evicted to make way for a student condominium development." In 1995 the City Council ignored citizen objections and voted to transfer $750,000 from a fund providing social services and low- income housing to a project to expand convention center parking.

The Campaign

The Coalition of Low Income and Homeless Citizens decided to attack the problem of affordable housing in a systematic manner. They scheduled a series of weekend community organizing training sessions and began planning a direct-action organizing campaign aimed at forcing the City to dedicate $1.2 million of a county tax windfall to an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. As the authors of the article write, "Over the next two months, the Coalition organized a series of actions at City Hall, knocked on doors of low-income residents to solicit their active involvement, and showed up in large numbers regularly at City Council meetings. When candidates were electioneering at the farmers market, Coalition activists would stand nearby distributing trust fund literature." The Mayor and City Council eventually agreed to allocate $500,000 as seed money for the fund.

The newly established fund had no requirements for permanent affordability. The Coalition continued to organize. They orchestrated phone call campaigns to swing Council voters, set up meetings with individual Council members, and recruited allies from around the state to testify before the council. On the night of the vote they surrounded the City Hall and packed the chambers with supporters. The Council approved a permanent affordability amendment by a vote of 5-4.

"This trust fund is ground-breaking in many ways. It is the first time local Bloomington moneys have been dedicated for affordable housing. It is the first community housing trust fund in Indiana (there is a state Housing Trust Fund). It has the tightest restrictions on permanent affordability in the country. And, it was the first trust fund created almost exclusively by poor people; poor and homeless people designed and led the campaign."


· The organizing campaign had clear goals: establish the fund, allocate $1.2 million, and assure permanent affordability.

· The campaign had clear targets: the Mayor, swing votes on the Council.

· The Coalition had breadth and focused on recruiting new members and developing new leaders.

· The Coalition took advantage of election year politics. The Democratic Council members had the increased incentive to support the Coalition's position because they knew the Coalition was willing and able to embarrass them in the upcoming elections.

· The Coalition had a clear message, which they distilled into concise slogans (e.g. "Homeless again in 20 years!"). They also discussed the Trust Fund internally and practiced presenting the issue to others, which helped clarify the message.

· The campaign was very low- tech. It was run out of a soup kitchen on $500 by volunteer staff.

When the Coalition won the campaign some of the key organizers moved away from Bloomington. They city subsequently took advantage of the absence by back-pedaling on permanent affordability issues and finding a dedicated source of revenue for the fund. This shows that what is won today can be taken away tomorrow without strong, permanent, attentive community organizations.


· Shelterforce Online. Not Another Parking Lot: Fight City Hall--and WIN! By Mike Evans, George Goehl, and Kim Bobo Jan/Feb 1996

· Interview, Adam Krugel and George Goehl, Coalition Organizers


According to recent conference material prepared by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago, the Humboldt Park community had a large population of Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants who were displaced from other parts of Chicago in the sixties and seventies. Manufacturing was once a constant in the community, but more than 30,000 people lost their jobs in the seventies and eighties and many left the neighborhood. Today the neighborhood has a population that is almost half Latino (mostly Puerto Rican) and half African-American. Fifty percent of households are below the poverty level and 19% are unemployed. Renters make up 75% of the residents. They pay as much as 50-75% of their incomes toward rent. The median area rent is $432.

The housing stock is mostly frame and brick single family houses. There are numerous vacant lots and a significant amount of scattered site public housing. The neighborhood is built around a well-landscaped 207-acre park. The nearby neighborhood of Wicker Park has been almost completely gentrified in recent years. The residents recognize that because of their housing stock, proximity to other gentrified neighborhoods, and the appeal of the open space of Humboldt Park, their neighborhood is a prime target for gentrification.

The Campaign

In 1994 the Near Northwest Neighborhood Network (NNNN) organized a community planning process for the city's federal Empowerment Zone application. Although they didn't get selected as an empowerment zone they decided to continue to organize around the issues they identified in the planning process. Over 80 organizations came together to form the independent Humboldt Park Empowerment Partnership (HPEP).

HPEP worked to get small businesses into the neighborhood and developed a job- training program in collaboration with local manufacturers. They initiated a youth mentoring program that works with dropouts to get a degree, a job and then provides 5 years of follow-up services. HPEP also assisted 60 people become new homeowners. To date, HPEP has garnered over $22 million dollars from CDBG, foundations, and local businesses for the community projects.

Earlier this year HPEP applied to the city's Community Development Commission for redevelopment area status for Humboldt Park and specifically for eminent domain authority over vacant lots and properties for HPEP. At the first meeting they attended, they met opposition to their proposal from local landowners and developers. They were able to put off what likely would have been a ruling against their application in order to give them time to garner community support for their proposal.

Over the next several weeks HPEP held town meetings and promoted the ideas of the community plan. 150 to 200 people attended two town meetings. When the Community Development Commission held their next meeting to decide on HPEP's proposal, the organization brought over 600 supporters to city hall. They had 200 people testify for the application and the general community plan. The overwhelming community support moved the Commission to vote in favor of HPEP. They won redevelopment area status for Humboldt Park and, most importantly eminent domain authority over 159 parcels of land for HPEP. Ground breaking on 29 of the parcels will begin next spring in order to build new city subsidized homes for first time home buyers.


HPEP organized a broad and diverse constituency around many community improvement issues. Their motto often was "agree to disagree" and move forward.

· They had a comprehensive vision for the neighborhood that was developed through a participatory community planning process.

· When they needed to, HPEP could turn out large numbers of concerned citizens to win concessions from the city.

· In general, they employed a strategy of making local politicians their allies and sharing in the success of the neighborhoods projects.


Jewish Council on Urban Affairs anti- gentrification conference materials.

· Interview, Mr. Medina, Executive Director, Near Northwest Neighborhood Network


Harlem was originally a mixed income and working class neighborhood, which was predominantly White. After WWI, White residents moved to the suburbs and Blacks moved into the area. The migration of African-Americans to the region from 1919 to 1926 helped to develop the Harlem Renaissance era. As a result, Harlem experienced a period of cultural growth particularly in the fields of music and the arts.

However, as the jobs disappeared, so did the economic sustainability of Harlem. After years of disinvestment and economic disenfranchisement, it resulted in decline and dilapidation characterized by low rents and land values. The population has been decreasing steadily and nearly a quarter of all houses were abandoned. Harlem was predominantly low income, uneducated, and African-American. Estimates indicate that 18.1% of the residents are unemployed compared to 9.0% for the New York City area. Furthermore, 43% of residents live below the poverty line, compared to 19.3% for the New York City area. These indicators demonstrate the disparity which currently exists.

Beginning in the 1980's, the forces of gentrification began to usurp the outlining area, first Manhattan, then the periphery of Harlem. Due to its ideal location and proximity to one of the highest rent districts in the world, Harlem was very vulnerable to the forces of gentrification. The restructuring of NYC's economy into a financial control center in the wider global economy increased its susceptibility to being gentrified. Housing costs were rapidly rising as well as rent levels and there were extremely low vacancy rates. After 1983, the sale prices for private residential sales soared. As a result of the 1987 stock market crash, gentrification slowed down considerably. Local government wanted to revitalize the area in order to reap in the economic benefits that potentially existed in the area.

Central Harlem residents were more likely to be spared from displacement because the city owns such a vast stock of abandoned buildings (many of them vacant) and undeveloped land that it is possible for substantial rehabilitation and redevelopment to occur before low income residents become displaced.

The extent of displacement will be determined by the level of opposition and organization within the community. Strategies to prevent gentrification/displacement in Harlem included the following:

Homeownership is promoted by the fact that local nonprofits provide residents with counseling and advocacy. Also effective is the use of purchase money mortgages and low interest rehab loans. There is recognition that development of mixed income housing units are advantageous means of ensuring affordable housing. Finally, it was important to have development be contracted to local minority contractors in order to create jobs for residents with a livable wage.

Other job creation mechanisms included fostering more entrepreneurial opportunities for local residents and new commercial developments such as Harlem USA. Job training in emerging health careers such as home health aides and a childcare initiative to meet the increasing demand of the welfare to work population was implemented. Lastly, investment in Harlem included a new primary healthcare facility as well as the renovation of Minton's Playhouse (restaurant and club), a remnant of Harlem's jazz era. Community ownership and pride was also enhanced with the development of the East Harlem Chamber of Commerce and a Latino Cultural Center.


Suffolk County sits northeast of NYC on Long Island. The county has been a model in comprehensive community development. It strives to reach a balance between economic revitalization/development while reducing the likelihood of displacement of residents. With median home sale prices exceeding $140,000 and high closing costs, it was becoming increasingly more difficult for low-and moderate-income families to become homeowners in the region.

The County worked with various agencies and groups to provide affordable housing and employment training and to improve public facilities in a targeted area, North Bellport. Low-and moderate-income homebuyers in this area, which is part of the Town of Brookhaven, will soon occupy newly constructed, single-family homes. The County will also make units available to low- and moderate-income renters there. All of the units benefited low- and moderate-income people, and all of the homes were built according to a scattered-site plan.

Local non-profit organizations provide housing counseling and rental housing as well as the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. The County is also working with participating nonprofit organizations to provide employment training in retail and manufacturing sales. Partnerships were established between local municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and banks. CDBG, ESG and HOME funding were used. The HOME funds have leveraged an additional $28 million in private funds.

The Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program was established in 1993 which assisted 22 households in purchasing homes. In 1997, 137 households were assisted, representing an increase of 600 percent. Down payment assistance is provided in the form of a non-interest bearing deferred payment loan.

From both an economic and social perspective, it was important that lower income households be provided with assistance to become homeowners. Ownership of homes becomes a strong stabilizing force to counteract gentrification/displacement. Local nonprofits provided advocacy and counseling services to residents to assist them with their goal of buying their own homes. Furthermore, partnership between the public and private sectors was an essential component in revitalization of the community while mitigating the forces of displacement. Finally, another unique aspect of the model used in Suffolk County entailed employment training for local residents. The job training provided residents with more economic opportunities to obtain jobs with livable wages while enabling them to afford rising housing costs.


The Tenderloin District in San Francisco, one of the city's last affordable downtown neighborhoods, lies directly adjacent to the upscale tourist and commercial area of Union Square. In the face of great gentrification pressures from expanding hotel and retail interests on its borders, Tenderloin neighborhood activists succeeded in mobilizing an effective response to outside development pressures, built on a few tangible victories, and created a proactive affordable housing and community development movement.

San Francisco's well-established post-war "growth machine" of private developers working in concert with city government fueled major changes to the urban form and structure of the city's downtown region in the decades following WWII. Some of these projects supported the development of the hotel and theatre districts on and west of Union Square. This area lies directly east of the Tenderloin. As hotels and tourist-oriented businesses moved closer to the Tenderloin in the 70s, increased conversion rates of SRO units, dramatic rent increases, and higher eviction rates contributed to the critical numbers of displaced individuals and families from the area.

The North of Market Planning Coalition (NOMPC) was created out of a series of neighborhood political advocacy planning meetings in 1979, a process partially funded by the San Francisco Foundation and involved numerous local residents and social workers. The new group organized around a strategic plan, which they soon adopted, stating conditions, goals, and strategies for improving and preserving qualities in the Tenderloin. Rallying local political bodies and presenting numerous compelling studies on the Tenderloin to city government, NOMPC gained three quick victories in the face of intense gentrification pressures: a ban on the conversion of SROs to tourist uses (or in lieu of significant replacement funds), the granting of a conditional use permit on an application for three new hotels on the Tenderloin's border that required significant mitigation funds from the private developers to community programs, and the downzoning of the Tenderloin to limit height allowances and the commercial use of buildings.

NOMPC was able to build upon these victories and develop a subsequent proactive approach to fighting gentrification in the Tenderloin. Engaging nonprofit developers and foundation contributors, NOMPC helped to establish a productive and strong coalition for affordable housing development in their neighborhood. By establishing ties with housing developers, local residents, city government, and commercial developers, NOMPC's efforts improved the social production capacity of the Tenderloin and helped create a more stable neighborhood infrastructure. In a three-year period in the late 80s, funding was given to the construction of over 3500 affordable housing units.

The development of an organized neighborhood political structure that could mobilize to protect low-income residents in the face of intense gentrification pressures and enhance local housing conditions was critical to the community development efforts in the Tenderloin. NOMPC's ability to maintain pressure on and eventually win favor with the city's planning officials proved essential. The broadened application and flexible use of the California Environmental Quality Act's Environmental Impact Report process, which considered the socio-economic impacts of proposed hotel development on the Tenderloin's environment in addition to the potential physical impacts, was possible only because of the city's eventual support of NOMPC's campaign. A key component to the group's responses to gentrification pressures was the early development of a strategic plan and the strong value placed on public participation throughout the process. The building of a strong coalition behind said plan was then important in sending a clear message to developers and government officials alike that sincere dialogue with neighborhood groups would be necessary when considering redevelopment projects in the Tenderloin.


Developing and maintaining a healthy supply of affordable housing in a given neighborhood is a critical part of any gentrification responses. Displacement itself is seen partially as a function of an affordable housing crisis by some communities that choose to focus improvement projects primarily on enhancing and improving their stock of affordable housing.

Through the late 80s and early 90s, the influx of new wealth fueled gentrification pressures in the Santa Fe area. The city of Santa Fe, and indeed much of the Rocky Mountain West region, saw a great influx of population in a relatively short period of time, witnessing over a 20% growth rate in the 80s. The migration of part-time residents and retirees brought significant levels of new private wealth to the area. Average housing prices in Santa Fe rose dramatically in the face of such pressures, and registered at 40% above the national average level in 1996. Many of the city's jobs are low paying tourist-related positions, and wages failed to keep pace with the local cost increases. Average wages in the area fell to over 30% below the national average. Such conditions priced out numerous families from the city entirely; many of which came from Latino backgrounds with several generations of roots in Santa Fe.

In response to the severe affordability problem, the city of Santa Fe, in partnership with nonprofits such as The Enterprise Foundation, led a participatory process resulting in the adoption of a comprehensive, strategic housing plan. A Housing Roundtable group was created to ensure implementation of the plan and consists of numerous affordable and for-profit developers. In a three year period from 1993-1996, various programs under the Roundtable assisted 1300 households in acquiring or maintaining affordable housing (through subsidies, construction, and rehabilitation programs), established two housing trust funds and one predevelopment loan fund in the area, and created a CDC that operates a Community Land Trust aimed at acquiring land in the region and retaining it for future affordable housing development.

Development of a strategic plan was critical to the success of the Roundtable's programs, as was the commitment by the city to spend significant funds on its implementation. Also noteworthy was the city's decision to relinquish certain funding decisions to the Roundtable body, of which it is a member, but not the sole decision-maker. The coalition approach in which nonprofits, the city, and private developers have all taken significant parts in goal setting, planning, and implementation has fueled the Roundtable's success. The city has also been commended for its acknowledgement of unique cultural and economic conditions fueling the housing crisis in its region. The Roundtable has been extremely creative in funding its work and has managed to leverage $43 for every city dollar invested in its affordable housing programs. The Roundtable has been the recipient of numerous private and public awards for its collaborative process, its ability to generate significant outside funding, and its noticeable results.


The Lower East Side of Manhattan is the neighborhood located between Wall Street and Chinatown to the south, the Village and SoHo to the west, Gramercy Park to the north and the East River to the east. Historically it has been a pocket of poverty that is home to immigrant communities and bounded by wealthier neighborhoods. Cycles of investment and disinvestment in the Lower East Side have resulted in declining property values and populations from 1910 to the late 1970s. In the early 1980s the neighborhood experienced an intense process of gentrification due to a combination of forces including an economic boom in New York's financial markets, an active re-packaging of the neighborhood by the real estate industry, an influx of artists and galleries, and a city policy that promoted real estate interests.

Neil Smith in The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City, catalogs the process by which the real estate and the "culture" industry transformed the Lower East Side from a marginalized neighborhood for low-income and minority communities into one considered fashionable and avant-garde, drawing young middle-class professionals to the neighborhood. The real estate industry re-named the northern part of the Lower East Side the "East Village" in order to capitalize on its geographic proximity to Greenwich Village. Artists and art dealers moved into the community during the early 1980s; with Lower East Side galleries playing a pivotal role in the gentrification process by drawing in tourists, consumers, art patrons, etc. It should be noted that by 1987 dramatic rent increases in the neighborhood led to gallery closures, with many artists becoming the victims of the gentrification process they helped to precipitate.

While the real estate and the art industries were central to the gentrification of the Lower East Side, city government was a key partner in the "cleaning up" of the neighborhood. City policies promoted gentrification through two key policies: one, a cycle of drug crackdowns and harassment of the homeless population in Tompkins Square Park and environs; two, the development of policies that supported and subsidized real estate interests. One strategy was to use their "in rem" properties, obtained through foreclosures and nonpayment of property taxes, to support the development of higher income housing. For example, in August 1981 the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) solicited proposals for an Artist Homeownership Program (AHOP) that would renovate 16 abandoned buildings and create 120 new housing units for artists.

This galvanized the community to form the Joint Planning Council (JPC), a coalition of more than 20 housing and community organizations who argued that these abandoned buildings should be made available to create housing for existing residents in the Lower East Side. An artist's opposition also emerged - Artists for Social Responsibility (AHOP). The AHOP proposal was ultimately defeated by the City Board of Estimates, but the AHOP proposal sparked the Joint Planning Council to propose its own community-based plan for vacant land. The Joint Planning Council proposed that all city-owned vacant lands be used for low and moderate-income housing. The City then proposed a cross-subsidy program whereby they would sell land to developers with an agreement that developers would make 20% of units available at below market rates for existing residents. In exchange for the affordable housing units, developers would receive a tax break.

Initially some of the community groups approved the proposal, though the program was ultimately weakened due to the vagueness of the cross-subsidy program. While the successes of the program were not all that the community had hoped for, it is worthwhile to note that the process of gentrification in the Lower East Side sparked the creation of a neighborhood wide coalition that was organized and could advocate for the interests and needs of community residents.


Our group was charged with the task of exploring the experiences of other communities who have been faced with gentrification. By looking at strategies that had been employed by other communities, we hoped to gain new insights into what worked, what didn't, and to identify strategies that might be relevant to the West Oakland community. We limited our case studies to neighborhood and city level strategies, though it should be noted that regional and federal strategies have also been used in some of the case studies.

· There are no guaranteed formulas for successfully fighting gentrification and displacement of residents.

· As each of these communities have demonstrated, it is best to use a variety of strategies to deter gentrification, depending on the unique strengths and circumstances of each neighborhood.

· As common sense would have it, community partnerships are fundamental in promoting development while preventing gentrification.

The strategies that we uncovered in the course of our research might be grouped into the following five categories:

1. Community Planning

In many of the neighborhoods and cities that we looked at, the threat of gentrification sparked those who might be displaced to mobilize and develop a plan or vision for their community. The characteristics of these strategies of community visioning included the development of a strategic plan, an inclusive process with broad-based participation and support, and a unified vision.

2. Affordable Housing

Strategies in this category include: home ownership subsidies, non-profit ownership and management, first-time buyer counseling, community land trusts, affordable housing trust funds, tax increment financing (TIF), redevelopment districts, rent control, eviction restrictions, and SRO (Single Room Occupancy hotels) retention.

3. Jobs

This involves working with local businesses and other non- profits to train residents in marketable job skills, advocating to retain of the manufacturing and light industry base in the neighborhood, and requirements for hiring local contractors to do redevelopment work.

4. Local Ordinances

The communities that we looked at adopted a variety of local ordinances or legislative approaches to stave the process of gentrification:

Zoning & Land Use Controls
Examples of this include inclusionary zoning, downzoning, mitigation fees (balanced growth, one-to-one replacement)
Balanced Growth Ordinances
This requires legislation, which would link downtown development to the support of neighborhood economic development.
Eminent Domain
This gives community organizations eminent domain power to acquire vacant land and buildings in their neighborhood, which may be renovated or redeveloped later. Examples include the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.

5. Direct Action/Grassroots Organizing

This core strategy, we found, was utilized by every successful campaign. Often it was the key to winning. Some fundamental principles: clear message, plan, goal, targets that can easily be articulated by residents, whether or not they play a major part in the campaign, broad-based participation.


· Organizing - Around specific targets, such as a particular policy, city department activity/plan, etc.; Work more closely with and monitor city offices to give them guidance on how their actions are impacting communities in danger of gentrification/displacement.

· Reframe the issue of gentrification as an effect of broader regional inequity; establish regional partnerships.

· Permanent Affordability: Strategies to increase the stock of affordable housing; nonprofit ownership of property; Community land trusts.

· Development of neighborhood plans to guide development - push for requirement that plan be followed as a city ordinance.

· Job linkage: Retaining manufacturing jobs; ensure neighborhood residents are capturing jobs that are emerging from economic development projects. Project/labor agreements - ensure that agreements include jobs for community residents. Development of more jobs which pay livable wages as well as affordable childcare for residents.

· Education and Services: Renters education--educate renters about their legal rights; Creating new coalitions among homeowners and renters; increase home ownership through support services such as counseling and advocacy.

· Data collection - to enable the community to measure the extent/impact of gentrification over time.



Association of Bay Area Governments Online, "Regional Housing Needs Executive Summary,"

California Futures Network, "Land Use and Housing Fact Sheet," (

City of Oakland. Rental Survey. 1999.

City of Oakland, Oakland 10K Initiative: Request for Proposals. July 6, 1999.City of Oakland:

Coalition for Livable Future. Displacement: The Dismantling of a Community. September 1999

DelVecchio, Rick. "On the Edge of Change." San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 1999

Donahue, J. Executive Director, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Interview

Enterprise Foundation.

Evans, M., Goehl, G. and Bobo, K. Not Another Parking Lot: Fight City Hall - and WIN! Shelterforce Online. Jan/Feb 1996 < FONT COLOR="#0000ff">

Express: "Jack London Neighborhood Residents and Merchants Fret as Port Seeks a Developer. by Bill O'Brien. November 19, 1999. p.3.

"Metro Desk: Oakland". by Dashka Slater.

Foderado, L. Harlem's Hedge Against Gentrification. New York Times. August 16,1987.

Harmon, T. Executive Director, Community Development Network. Phone Interview.

Hovde, Sarah and Krinsky, J. (1997). Watchful Stewards: Mutual Housing Associations and Community Land Trusts Preserve Affordable Housing.

Jenkins, Garret. President, North of Market Planning Coalition. Phone Interview, 11/23/99.

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs anti- gentrification conference materials.

Krugel, A and Goehl, G. Coalition Organizers. Interview

Mr. Medina, Executive Director, Near Northwest Neighborhood Network. Interview

Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California,

Oakland Tribune, The: "Brown eases defeat on port". by Laura Counts. December 9, 99. p.1 East Bay Hills.

_____"Brown, Harris disagree on port commission terms". by Laura Counts. November 3, 1999. p.1.

_____"Developers set sites on downtown". October 29, 99. p.1.

_____"Downtown "10K" plan taking off". by Kathleen Kirkwood. December 2, 99. p.1.

_____"Oakland base lowers US flag for the last time". by Kathleen Kirkwood. September 17, 1999. p.1 East Bay Hills.

_____"Port presents vision for Jack London Square". by Laura Counts. October 28, 1999. p.1 East Bay Hills.

_____"Taps for old Army Base". by Kathleen Kirkwood. September 15, 1999. p.1 East Bay Hills.

_____"Temporary fix in Jack London squabble". by Laura Counts. December 9, 99. p.1.

Port of Oakland:

Robinson, Tony (1995). "Gentrification and Grassroots Resistance in San Francisco's Tenderloin". Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 30, No. 4.

Smith, Neil (1996). The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. Routledge: London.

Stewart, Suzanne and Mary Praetzellis, eds. Sights and Sounds: Essays in Celebration of West Oakland. December,1997

Strategic Economics for Greenbelt Alliance and Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, "Housing Solutions for Silicon Valley: Housing Solutions Report, 1999" The Neighborhood Works (July/Aug 1997)

UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 90 (November 1997) toc.htm#TopOfPage

Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone

Urban Habitat Program, "There Goes the Neighborhood: A Regional Analysis of Gentrification and Community Stability in the San Francisco Bay Area,"

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, "Blue Ribbon Practices in Community Development" web page.


1 Per communication, CP290.

2 Per communication, California Futures Network.

3 Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. ( and "Land Use and Housing Fact Sheet," The California Futures Network (

4 "Land Use and State/Local Finance Fact Sheet," The California Futures Network (

5 Per communication, The California Futures Network.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 "Land Use and Housing Fact Sheet," The California Futures Network (

9 Ibid.

10 "Housing Solutions for Silicon Valley: Housing Solutions Report, 1999," prepared by Strategic Economics for Greenbelt Alliance and Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, p.5.

11 Ibid.

12 "There Goes the Neighborhood: A Regional Analysis of Gentrification and Community Stability in the San Francisco Bay Area," Urban Habitat Program, p.11.

13 Ibid, p.17.

14 "Regional Housing Needs Executive Summary," Association of Bay Area Governments Online,

15 "There Go Goes the Neighborhood: A Regional Analysis of Gentrification and Community Stability in the San Francisco Bay Area," Urban Habitat Program Ibid, p.11.

16 Collaborations based upon money usually die when the money runs out. It is yet to be seen if the community building efforts that are largely based upon money will be an exception to that rule.

17 One mechanism to force groups to work together is to make sure that all monies distributed through the Initiative are distributed only to groups working in collaboration.

18 For example, McClymonds High School in West Oakland operates daily at well below its capacity.

19 Based on a 30-year fixed mortgage at 7.25% with a downpayment of 5%.