Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Important Oakland Community Planning Meetings Kick Off Tomorrow Night

"The kickoff event this Thursday will introduce a series of five dialogue sessions that will take place between March 24 and the first week in May. Each session will include eight to ten community members discussing the issues they're passionate about in Oakland, and the changes they would like to see over the next fifteen years. These events, lead by a facilitator, will build upon each other in order to identify the most pressing concerns about the neighborhood, likely covering future development strategies, green initiatives, new multi-modal transportation opportunities, and public education enhancement."

As I recall, Lawrenceville went through this process-resulting in very few significant changes.

I have a pretty significant gripe here. We all know that Oakland, as the core area holding the bulk of the city's major educational and medical institutions, is critical to the city's future. We also, know that the major players already have major ideas which they likely will ram down our throats anyway-through eminent domain.

The problem here is that the major issues and thinking has to be done on a larger level--and at a minimum involve the major surrounding areas--South Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, East Liberty and the Hill District. In the absence of this, no significant progress is likely and the self destructive trend towards traffic, sprawl and poor quality urban design will continue.

For a good example of how a broad planning process that might help shape major infrastructure in the city one has to go no further than Youngstown, Ohio.

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