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Recent Comments

Re: “What's Missing in Oakland's First Cultural Plan in 30 Years?

The other subtext is that Cultural Affairs resides within the Economic Development Department and instead not only needs to stand on its own but extend laterally through every department. Also, Oakland is the ONLY town in the Bay Area without inclusionary zoning, which requires a percentage of newly built units to be affordable (most other towns require up to 25%). As of last years accounting, only $10M (or 6-8 units) was collected in impact fees from developers to build affordable units...somewhere else and not within the new fancy building. Were also seeing lots of empty ground floor spaces, now. Oakland will continue to see displacement of its artists (in non-residence) and people with lower incomes in the near future. Preserving our Oakland Culture? Not yet. Too late? Maybe. Would a Cultural Zone or Districts really help? I want to remain hopeful but it may require the agency of every remaining artist in Oakland plus 5 friends, as well as the diasporated, to move from plans to ACTION.

Posted by HirokoKurihara on 12/19/2018 at 7:37 AM

Re: “The Vanishing Underground: Oakland's Housing Crisis Is Also Displacing its Arts and Music Counterculture

Thank you, Nastia, for documenting yet another great loss of authentic culture in Oakland...The article ends with there being only one sure thing: that until market forces change, Oakland's underground scene will also keep going into the ground...Well...there might be one other sure thing:

Oakland has deep roots in organizing!

And that is what we'll need to do to help remind our political leaders that "WHEN there is a will, there IS a way" to preserve our culture, to ensure affordability, and to prevent more displacement.

I lost our shared space when our rent went up 40% and also closed at the end of this July. But for the the past year, our neighborhood artists and business owners have been figuring out how we can create Cultural Arts Districts that might skip street banners and go straight to regulations and incentives that preserve what's unique about Oakland.

We're at the start of forming a city-wide effort to get these policies into place, like cultural zoning overlays and development guidelines for developers who, BTW, don't make much money on ground floor uses anyway, to really do something different to provide opportunity and access to spaces that remain affordable.

Plenty of other cities and states have succeeded. (SOHO and DUMBO are NOT good examples, but Seattle is doing something interesting!)

So 2 THINGS YOU CAN DO: please check out this petition that supports creating a cultural arts district in Uptown and asks the City to create a task force for Cultural Arts Districts for ALL NEIGHBORHOODS in Oakland. The more people who participate and get involved, the more chance we have at moving from policy recommendations to policy ACTION.



The CA Arts Council is going around the state to get input from folks on how to roll out a statewide framework for Cultural Arts Districts! (How about that??) They're coming to Oakland:

Wed, October 5, 2016
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Youth Radio Arts Venue
1719 Broadway
Oakland, CA

It's FREE, bring your story and suggestions and register from this page.


We can do this!

Hiroko (from the former 25th St. Collective)
for more info:


Posted by HirokoKurihara on 09/21/2016 at 5:15 PM

Re: “Special Deal Would Benefit Influential Oakland Developer

There's no question that Oakland and the Bay Area needs to increase density especially along transit corridors and practice truly smart growth principles. What's missing in this wholesale "progressive movement" is that it is exclusive and forces the displacement of the very people and culture that has made this town Oakland.

And...we simply cannot allow a government that obfuscates its intentions, panders to the new elite, and expects residents to negotiate community benefits on a case by case basis to continue in this manner. If we want to retain an authentic community, we will have to fight for it.

Posted by Hiroko on 11/03/2015 at 10:43 PM

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