City of Oakland Planner Lakshmi Rajagopalan Selected for 2024 Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt Award

Award Recognizes Local Leaders who Champion Housing as a Climate and Land Use Solution

Lakshmi headshot

Oakland, CA - A planner with the City of Oakland, Lakshmi Rajagopalan, has been selected by Greenbelt Alliance as a 2024 Hidden Hero of the Greenbelt awardee. 

The Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt Awards honor exceptional climate champions working at the intersection of land use and climate change in the Bay Area. Ms. Rajagopalan is recognized for her instrumental role in advancing abundant climate-smart housing through her work on Oakland's 2045 General Plan Update, Phase 1, Housing Element, and other key initiatives.  

"My office was proud to nominate Lakshmi Rajagopalan for this award," stated Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao. "Lakshmi is an incredible leader in the City of Oakland whose attention to detail, strong sense of equity, and collaborative approach helped us pass a General Plan that prioritizes our residents and the future of our city. Thanks to her work, Oakland is focused on the health and safety of our neighborhoods, building affordable housing, and ending exclusionary zoning citywide while addressing decades of environmental racism. Congratulations, Lakshmi, for everything you have done!" 

“Our selection committee had the difficult task of choosing among many inspiring stories, and Lakshmi’s stood out for her commitment to equity, relationship building, and impactful work on housing policies,” said Amanda Brown-Stevens, Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance. “On behalf of Greenbelt Alliance, I would like to congratulate Ms. Rajagopalan and the City of Oakland for being selected out of such a strong pool of candidates to receive the Hidden Hero award.” 

Join Us in Celebrating Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt 

Greenbelt Alliance will honor Ms. Rajagopalan and fellow awardees at a special block-party community event open to the public. Tickets available here: 

  • Date: Wednesday, August 28th, 2024 
  • Time: 5:30 – 8:30 PM 
  • Location: Preservation Park, Oakland

About the City of Oakland’s Planning and Building Department  

The Planning & Building Department oversees regulations for the City's growth and development. By reviewing project plans, enforcing local ordinances, developing neighborhood plans, and responding to public concerns, we work to create a built environment that supports the health and welfare of all Oaklanders. 

About Oakland’s General Plan Update 2045, Phase 1 

Oakland's 2045 General Plan Update is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for all Oaklanders to create a visionary blueprint for the future of the City. The General Plan Update includes the 2023-2031 Housing Element, updated Safety Element, the City’s first Environmental Justice Element, and Planning Code amendments. An inclusive community engagement process to reach out to communities historically excluded from traditional planning processes and a Racial Equity Impact Analysis of each Element ensured the development of equitable policies that are concrete, data-driven, outcome-oriented, and problem-solving. This comprehensive update includes strategies to meet Oakland’s housing needs and demands for more affordable homes by streamlining housing development, promoting “missing middle housing types,” reducing pollution, advancing environmental justice in our most impacted communities, and preparing Oaklanders for the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The recently updated Senate Bill 1000 Guidance from the Attorney General’s office cites 12 example policies and actions from Oakland as best practices. Oakland 2045 General Plan Update, Phase 1 was also selected for an Award of Excellence in the Opportunity and Empowerment Award Category by American Planning Association (APA) California – Northern Section. 

About Greenbelt Alliance 

Greenbelt Alliance works to educate, advocate, and collaborate to make the Bay Area’s lands and communities resilient to a changing climate. More info about the Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt Award can be found here: 




Posted: July 8th, 2024 4:05 PM

Last Updated: July 8th, 2024 4:58 PM

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