November 28 2013

Place-Making for Peace in Oakland, California

A Place for Sustainable Living hosted Festival of the Commons, a neighborhood place-making block party in the Golden Gate District of Oakland on November 9, 2013. This celebration on about three blocks of closed-off streets, featured multiple on-going projects open for public involvement such as urban garden installations, up-cycling recycled materials into the building of public mud-packed cob bulletin boards and benches and various public art projects to name a few.

Eco-Festival Hosted by A Place for Sustainable Living in Oakland, Ca

Cob-making at Festival of the Commons in Oakland, Ca

Other participatory activities included workshops for Tai Chi, juggling, lassoing, bicycle repair, survival skills, gardening, composting, rainwater harvesting, children’s recycling crafts and more. Featuring an eco-carnival atmosphere, entertainment at the festival ranged from local musicians, a magician, ventriloquist and puppet show, eco-centered carnival games, funky bicycle showcase and raceway, along with other local artists, performers and vendors. Furthering the communal message through food, a booth of potluck dishes offered various home cooked items, brought and shared among the neighborhood participants and attendees.

Side Show At Festival of Commons in Oakland, Ca

Place-Making Events in Oakland, Ca

The overall theme of the day, and the collaborative street mural, was “Declaring Peace Through All Our Relations” as a declaration against Oakland homicides. Among the organizations working with A Place for Sustainable Living were St. Columba Church, Planting Justice, Rock the Bike, Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO), Spokeland, Phat Beets Produce, Grid Alternatives, Actual Cafe, Youth Spirit Arts, and San Pablo Avenue Golden Gate Improvement Association (SPAGGIA). All were involved in facilitating the festival for the promotion of sustainable living practices to empower action in partnerships and community.

Place-making is about enticing active participation in the shaping of public spaces through building community and advancing the social, ecological and economic assets of specific locations into a collective and active vision of neighborhood transformations.

Has a neighborhood near you hosted any place-making events and if so, how has it shaped your local community?

Credits: Images by Gina Kiani. Data linked to sources.

Gina Kiani

Gina Kiani is a Graduate student at the University of Southern California and will complete a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology in the Fall of 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of California Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Urban Environments. The primary direction of her objectives and pursuits focus on the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS) to facilitate Sustainable Urban Planning. Her interest in GIS concerns how spatial analysis can provide an over-arching context to many of the themes that are relevant to the interpretation of data and information required in efficient decision-making and modeling. With indisputable evidence of anthropogenic induced climate change, she hopes to utilize GIS in areas such as change detection of atmospheric composition and water levels, epidemic outbreaks, deforestation, reforestation, energy and food production etc., to contribute to the continual characterization, monitoring and evaluation of natural resources for sustainability purposes. Her skill-set includes dissecting and performing the critical components of a site suitability analysis, sustainability inventory, spatial analysis, field techniques for GIST, programming and customization, spatial database management, research and dissemination. Her final year of study will include project management and her thesis in GIS for Sustainable Urban Planning. As the Oakland and Berkeley California correspondent for Global Site Plans, she hopes to remain current on relevant development issues and discover emerging GIS strategies while advocating for sustainable planning.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 28th, 2013 at 9:37 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Non-Profit, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. 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.

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2 Responses to “Place-Making for Peace in Oakland, California”

  1. Jame Says:

    This looked a lot like the much lauded “new Oakland” and not very inclusive of “original Oakland.” This neighborhood is at the forefront of gentrification and the new/old culture clash.

  2. Gina Kiani Says:

    I’m not exactly sure who the “original Oakland” is being left out….
    I do think that concepts of sustainability and community, though may be considered as part of a “newer” culture, are important for planning the futures of our neighborhoods;
    It definitely is an important element that original residents be included in the evolution of their environment and gentrification is certainly on the rise throughout Oakland
    Attending the event however, I felt more the presence of locals and regular folk than I did any business or developer agenda slickly glossing the event….
    To me, I gathered that the festival was more grassroots driven than it was by commercial marketing ~

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