April 09 2013

How an Oakland, California Neighborhood Went from Grunge to Hipster-Magnet

Like many of its Bay Area counterparts, Oakland, California is a city full of diverse neighborhoods, comprised of unique identities blending and interacting to form one of the region’s primary destinations. Temescal is one such example where you can see the local history while experiencing the recently emerged culinary and art scenes that have come to define much of the area.

Temescal Neighborhood

Once just a stop along the railway that ran down Telegraph Avenue from Oakland to Berkeley, Temescal did not become a part of Oakland until 1897. Upon the construction of the 24 Freeway during the 1930s, the borders changed and the neighborhood struggled. This concept is reminiscent of the post World War II urban redevelopment that took place in New York, when highways were built through cities.

It was not long ago when residents saw Temescal as an area to stray away from. Things changed about ten years ago when local merchants made a deliberate effort to change the image, with the first step being the implementation of a property tax. The tax proceeds helped business, as evidence from the 18% increase in sales-tax receipts between 2004 and 2008.

Temescal Stores

According to a 2009 article from the Wall Street Journal, the neighborhood draws a “mix of yuppies and plaid-wearing hipsters,” a large part of the contemporary culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. As you drive down Telegraph Avenue, the main street that runs through the district, you will see an array of culinary venues, art galleries and shops that reflect this new demographic. For example, at around 2:00 PM on any given weekday there will be a line outside of Bakesale Betty, a popular sandwich shop, that runs down the block.  The neighborhood also hosts a popular Farmers Market every Sunday.

Temescal Farmers Market

With the impressive community and economic development that has enlivened the neighborhood, Temscal is branding for Oakland’s image. There now resides a hub of culture where these “yuppies” and “hipsters” can find affordable living conditions, public transit in the MacArthur BART station and good eats.

What examples of neighborhood revitalization can you think of in your area?

Credits: Photographs by Robert Poole. Data linked to sources.

Rob Poole

Rob Poole graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego, but now resides in San Francisco. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development for all income levels in the City. He also interns with Streetsblog San Francisco. Rob plans to pursue a career that promotes civic engagement in cities and improves the public process for local governments.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 9:48 am and is filed under Branding, Community/Economic Development, History/Preservation, Robert Poole, Social/Demographics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “How an Oakland, California Neighborhood Went from Grunge to Hipster-Magnet”

  1. Oakland, California’s New Transit-Oriented Development Redefines Space | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] up is the MacArthur Transit Village (MTV), an impressive urban planning initiative to be built in Temescal beside the MacArthur BART station. Much like Fruitvale Village, this transit-oriented-development [...]

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