In response to the rising cost of housing — and lattes — the City of Oakland has voted to establish a new arts district. 14th Street in the city’s downtown core will become the “Black Business and Arts District.” The hope is the new district will help stave off the rising tide of the East Bay’s tech-pocalypse, and serve as a safe haven for artists and small businesses.
According to the City, the district will “highlight, celebrate, preserve, and support the contributions of Oakland’s black artists and business owners and the corridor as a place central both historically and currently to Oakland’s black artists and black owned businesses.” Structural plans are still in the brainstorming stage, but you can tweet your suggestions with the hashtag #PlanDowntown.
— City of Oakland (@Oakland) January 17, 2016
— City of Oakland (@Oakland) January 15, 2016
Oakland’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, has been quoted using her own portmanteau recently: “Tech-quity.” The term is used to describe her ideal projection for Oakland as the city evolves into a stomping ground for tech start-ups. In her own words, she described it in a welcome letter to Uber as “equitable access to top-notch training and jobs for our residents and fostering our local technology sector’s growth so it leads to shared prosperity.”
In an interview with KQED, she outlines a few of the strategies being taken to minimize displacement of locals while revitalizing neighborhoods with an eye for safety and invigorated culture. Some of these include a new policy liberalizing secondary units as a way to increase rental space, a proposed policy to rent the city’s own property at lowered rents to artistic organizations, and safer open spaces for pedestrians.