U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-30-2010, 06:02 PM
 
22 posts, read 35,841 times
Reputation: 24

Advertisements

I was raised in Oakland for most of my life, mixed memories of Brett Harte and Skyline High. Moved to the East Coast for school and subsequently settled in New York. I haven't been back to Oakland in some time. Recently over the holiday, I stayed in Oakland for an extended period of time... and I have to say: very impressed. I have a feeling that Oakland, despite its reputation, will be the "Next Great City," one of these emerging, desirable cities. By the time I retire (~15 years, ambitious plan), Oakland will not even feel or look as it is today. 15 years from now, people will have conversation about "how dangerous Oakland USED to be" like some distant memories. I think people forget that ~15 years ago Oakland was a much different city, different social demographics and wealth. I believed the A's actually led the league in attendance back in the early 90s, much like the Yankees today. 15 years from now, Oakland will return to what it was (or close to it).

Let me share my thought (any critique are welcome).


A. Gentrification (couldn't find a better word) of Oakland is an inevitability

I witness a fair amount of gentrification and there's no question that lower-income people will be corner out and forced to move. I think this has already occur. The transformation of the Lower Bottoms (eg. Dogtown) is shocking. This used to be a complete dump, which is putting it lightly.

I used to live in the South End in Boston. South End ten years ago was a drug-ridden hellhole. In the last five years or so, it has transformed into a hip, very gay-friendly venue. South End is one of the most desirable places to live in Boston right now. It all started with artists moving in drives because they were corner out of the more expensive area. This drove rent up and forced low-income minorities to move out. This is exactly what's happening in part of Oakland. The recession is probably slowing down the process, but the gentrification of Oakland will continue. Even in this environment, rent are stunningly high (relative to other areas) for low-income minorities in Oakland due to lack of jobs. Anecdotally, that's what I have been hearing.

In the early 90's, Manhattan was a scary place. Probably not as bad as Oakland, but within striking distance. Stabbing on the street was a scary prospect in parts of Manhattan. Subway was no way as safe as it is today. What change was a lockdown on crime and more important, like what happened in the Southend, the gentrification impact from "higher" educated people moving into the area and displacing lower-income folks.

It happened in Berkeley, Daly City. Process is beginning in Oakland. Oakland is too good of a gem for young professsional, artist, and middle income-america not to be exploited. Unfortunately or fortunately, low-income minorities will be cornered out.


B. Being a step-sister is not so bad.

Oakland lives in the shadow of SanFran, and naturally there's always a jealousy issue. However, I think people take it for granted and/or is underappreciated. Being the indirect beneficiary of San Francisco is a huge positive. This is a direct parallel to the Bronx/Brooklyn benefiting from Manhattan. To a smaller extent it's similar to what's happening in Dorchester, MA.

The recession kinda clouds the picture but when there's economic prosperity in San Francisco, Oakland benefit immensely. Like New York, San Fran will continue to attract people. SF will remain a major international hub. The spillover impact, the great discrepancy between COL and Rent (Oakland-SanFran), and the ridiculous proximity means inevitably Oakland will prosper. You can also factor in great weather.

Unlike other "bad cities," like Camden, Flint, Cleveland... Oakland actually has a positive economic outlook owing in part to it being in the right location. Not to mention being a good port city.


C. Jack London Square will be an important center piece.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when people say New York? Statue of Liberty. Financial District. Broadway. What is the first thing that comes to mind when people say San Fran? Golden Gate bridge. The Pier.

I think every major or mini-major city needs an iconic location. Oakland kinda lacks one. Lake Merritt is okay, but it's not iconic. Jack London Square has that potential. If they do build the A's stadium there, it would help immensely. If you havent been there, I highly recommended it. JLS is a hybrid of Annapolis and a shopping center.

So when people mention Oakland in the future, the first thing that should comes to mind is Jack London Square, the Hills, or Lake Merritt. Rather than West Oakland and a crappy football team. I think people need a change in perception of the City. Something to draw their attention..



Anyway, sorry for the long dissertation. I am pretty excited by what's going to happen to my hometown.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-30-2010, 06:14 PM
 
312 posts, read 429,641 times
Reputation: 181
Trolls in 3....2.....1........... Great post by the way.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 06:33 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
75 posts, read 265,211 times
Reputation: 77
I hope you're right! I drive through Oakland and see the wonderful old Victorian homes and always comment how scenic the trees and hills and City are. When my grandparents grew up in Oakland in the 40's it was a great place. I would suspect it will take a little longer than 15 years, though, to see any real progress.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 06:49 PM
 
22 posts, read 35,841 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank99 View Post
I hope you're right! I drive through Oakland and see the wonderful old Victorian homes and always comment how scenic the trees and hills and City are. When my grandparents grew up in Oakland in the 40's it was a great place. I would suspect it will take a little longer than 15 years, though, to see any real progress.

I drove for a good hour around the hills last weekend. Just absolutely gorgeous. One of the great areas in the Bay Area that people don't talk about as often as it should. People jogging all around. The lower part of the hills have seen some nice revitalization as well, compared to 5 years ago.

I think it's doable in 15 years. It took Pittsburgh 5-7 years to turn things around. Pittsburgh is an awesome city now btw. Their revitalization came from a shift in business concentration. With the loss of Clorox, it looks like the city of Oakland is pushing hard to revitalize business interest. This is a welcome change. It's pretty clear that the mood now is one of revitalizing business rather than an expansion of entitlements. Changes are happening, as slow as they might be. I think we're at the inflection point.

The duration of the recession obviously will dictate the pace. But you're right, Oakland was a great city in the past. Too many good attribute for that not to reoccur.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Parkland, FL
416 posts, read 1,480,757 times
Reputation: 267
First of all, Gentrification in Boston's South End started closer to 30 years ago in the early 80's. The 'nabe has been full-blown yuppieville for the past 20. Even though the same housing projects still exist in the South End, the area is very safe and very expensive. And yes, gentrification spread to Dorchester while the economy was good, but has slowed significantly in that area over the past 2-3 years.

Point #1 Gentrification only exists when the economy is smokin' hot

I'm far from an Oakland expert, but why would gentrification continue to spread there? What is the main economic driver in Oakland itself that would spurt that growth. I would think that gentrification would spread throughout the City of San Francisco before it continues in Oakland. The only think Oakland has going for it is the having an "Oakland, CA" mailing address, which would be consider hip and cool among the "shock troops" of gentrification.

Point #2 An area needs some very local economic drivers (large universities, hospitals, govt buildings) to start gentrification.

Who knows, I could be way off on this, but I wouldn't hold your breathe waiting for Oakland to become the next Cambridge, Hoboken, etc etc. Plus, where are all the poor folk gonna go? Also would you want ALL OF OAKLAND to be very expensive and unaffordable to the middle (even upper-middle) class?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 08:01 PM
 
Location: San Leandro
4,576 posts, read 7,650,420 times
Reputation: 3248
Quote:
I have a feeling that Oakland, despite its reputation, will be the "Next Great City,"
I donno about that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 08:05 PM
 
Location: USA
16,673 posts, read 16,370,190 times
Reputation: 12629
Oakland won't be the "next great city" in our lifetime. Look at the people who make up it's population. A bunch of crime ridden, police hating thugs! Ok, well this description does not fit the majority, but it's still a large group that will prevent Oakland from becoming the "next great city." It doesn't matter how many millions you shove into Oakland schools or public housing etc, it will all be trashed and tagged. It's not even a surprise when you hear about a murder in Oakland anymore, it's like meh...only one person got murdered or raped this time, that's a shock.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,941 posts, read 28,318,386 times
Reputation: 26133
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowGoesIt View Post
First of all, Gentrification in Boston's South End started closer to 30 years ago in the early 80's. The 'nabe has been full-blown yuppieville for the past 20. Even though the same housing projects still exist in the South End, the area is very safe and very expensive. And yes, gentrification spread to Dorchester while the economy was good, but has slowed significantly in that area over the past 2-3 years.

Point #1 Gentrification only exists when the economy is smokin' hot

I'm far from an Oakland expert, but why would gentrification continue to spread there? What is the main economic driver in Oakland itself that would spurt that growth. I would think that gentrification would spread throughout the City of San Francisco before it continues in Oakland. The only think Oakland has going for it is the having an "Oakland, CA" mailing address, which would be consider hip and cool among the "shock troops" of gentrification.

Point #2 An area needs some very local economic drivers (large universities, hospitals, govt buildings) to start gentrification.

Who knows, I could be way off on this, but I wouldn't hold your breathe waiting for Oakland to become the next Cambridge, Hoboken, etc etc. Plus, where are all the poor folk gonna go? Also would you want ALL OF OAKLAND to be very expensive and unaffordable to the middle (even upper-middle) class?
Oakland has been gentrifying over the past 10 years. You might be able to blame Jerry Brown, but things have changed a lot. Even in the past 5. Jerry Brown said "I want 10000 residents in Downtown Oakland." There are at least 7000 newer developments that are complete and pretty full. There are another few thousand units that are nearing completion. Even the high rent high rises in downtown are pretty full. As the economy went down, some of the condo projects converted to rentals, but the rentals are popular.

I don't know if you ever visited downtown Oakland in the 2000s, but it was 100% ghost town.

The Paramount was all by itself. Today there is a ton of new development in Uptown. Restaurants, bars, nightlife. It has all improved greatly. And the Paramount's neighbor, the Fox Theater completed a huge renovation and is now open for business. Have you heard about Art Murmur and First Fridays? Thousands of people come out to Uptown 1X per month to check out the art. Its packed, wall to wall.

Another area that has changed is Jack London. There are probably 2000 new housing units in the past 10 years in that neighborhood. And many lofts conversions happened.

Next new neighborhood: Temescal. In the 90s it was sketchy. These days it is almost done with the coming part of up and coming. And is much safer.

Fruitvale BART is the home of one of the "Transit Oriented Developments" in Oakland, and the new development included condos and a new shopping center.

A new neighborhood in the works: Oak to Ninth. This broke ground a few months ago. Signature Properties (or it might be Forest City) is building a new neighborhood from the ground up in an under utilized part of town.

Oakland is absolutely on an upswing, and all of the new development is proof of the revitalization. I am not necessarily in support of gentrification that pushes existing residents out, but I definitely support reclaiming under utilized space like Jack London, Oak to Ninth, the areas surrounding Lake Merritt BART and MacArthur BART. Hopefully developers can maintain affordability and improve municipal safety and economics.

One of the number one benefits of Oakland is related to the tough times in years past, Oakland has a huge number of historic buildings, and the turn of the century downtown is still largely intact.

The typical housing stock in Oakland is full of charming victorians and craftsmans. Downtown has loads of 19th century highrises that haven't been razed for parking lots (see San Jose) so there is lots of potential for charming redevelopment. And it has already started.

IT is actually good news that the recession happened. We've attracted quite a bit of new development in the downturn. And frankly, there is no way that homes in Deep East Oakland should cost 400K-500k. That's just ridiculous. I am glad prices are begining to return to normalcy. The normal prices will help to encourage the middle class to come back.

I'd like to see it continue, and have developers continue to reclaim underutilized space. There are plenty of opportunities for infill and transit oriented development in town. And plenty of room for productive citizens, low income or higher. I hope everyone can work together to make it happen.

Oakland has great weather, an ideal location and abundant transit. With the current lifestyle and development trends, it is well positioned to become a "model city" with walkable neighborhoods, public transit and easy access for travelers in all nodes. Oakland is really the center of the Bay Area, and these changes will help and improve Oakland's position in the region.

I definitely love living in Oakland, and it gets better every year. I still want to keep it a secret though. We don't want prices to go up too much.

Yeah, Oakland sucks. Never come here. There is absolutely nothing to do. Stay far away.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
31,598 posts, read 53,313,339 times
Reputation: 14517
Oakland is already a great city.

I sort of hate that people are slowly figuring it out. Part of me wishes it remained our secret.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2010, 09:44 PM
 
6,246 posts, read 9,554,774 times
Reputation: 7535
I believe it!! I'm not even from California but I know Oakland is on the way because for one thing, I'm extremely nosy. And I wanted to know what a typical Oakland high school is like so I facebooked several high schools in the Oakland area to snoop random pages from the students (I'm in HS too so don't worry I'm not a stalker) and was SURPRISED when I checked the greatschools.net demographics. In one high school, there was almost equal demographics for whites, blacks, hispanics, and asians!! I was like...asians?!! In Oakland? Really?! And this time I thought it was all black and hispanic!! But anyway, I facebooked and snooped several students pages and some of the asian students aren't just the typical asian. Their gangster asians!! Now mind you, I was never raised around Asian people so their culture is such a mystery to me and I've always wanted to get to know them. So I was surprised when I seen all these gangster asians in the hood and whatnot. I saw this one asian girl that was so bad ass. She goes to clubs, she drinks, and parties and her family was totally gangster. I was like no way bro. These are gangster asians. No where else but Oakland cause I never seen that anywhere else I have lived!!

But anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I can definitely see Oakland on the come up because it's so diverse with so many people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It's ENTIRELY different than San Francisco. It has it's own identity and has made it's mark in the world as a international city of prestige. It definitely has a hood rep. And I'm sure it's not as bad as the movies and everyone tries to make it out to be. Go Oakland! I just don't want to get shot or beat up when I visit!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top