From July 31st - August 3rd, the City held a series of Social Equity Working Group meetings, facilitated by Downtown Oakland Specific Plan consultant teams led by I-SEEED and Dover, Kohl & Partners. Each working group covered a different topic, each of which was previously identified in the planning process:
- Arts & Culture
- Streets & Mobility
- Housing & Economic Opportunity
- Built Environment & Sustainability
The Social Equity Working Group meetings were kicked off by Equity Team facilitator Greg Hodge, who opened the proceedings with African drumming, call-and-response clapping, and singing, which was powerful in bringing the diverse group together around the purpose of the day: to take a new look at each of the topics above through the lens of social equity, including providing input on draft goals.
Before diving into small group conversations, City staff Joanna Winter and Ed Manasse summarized the process of the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan so far, and the Equity Team’s technical experts presented the relevant equity issues and data pertaining to that meeting’s topic. Participants were then asked to identify changes they’d like to see to the goals, as well as potential barriers communities face in reaching the goals, and possible solutions to those barriers. This exercise, in effect, turned the attendees into creative policymakers. It also guided participants to work collectively alongside other Oakland stakeholders. All ideas and comments generated in these small group discussions were collected and have been used to inform the next phase of the process.
In February the City of Oakland, along with the Equity Team and Dover Kohl & Partners, will be launching Creative Solutions Labs & Neighborhood Design Sessions, where we will dive deeper into developing specific planning solutions for the pressing issues facing communities in Downtown Oakland and beyond.
Please save the the dates and join us in this important process, which will significantly impact the city we love for years to come.
For more information regarding the ideas discussed, the attendees, and the presentations, please visit the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan online.