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Affordable Housing on Public Land

December 4, 2015

By eastbayexpress – excerpt

The E 12 Coalition has collaborated with the community and partnered with a developer on a plan to build 133 units of affordable housing on publicly owned property near Lake Merritt…

What would it look like if the City of Oakland worked not just with corporate developers, but with neighborhood residents to determine what should be built on our precious public land in Oakland?

Residents in the Eastlake area of Oakland believe that this sort of community-led development can and should happen on the publicly owned East 12th Street parcel next to Lake Merritt. The E 12th Coalition, an alliance of neighbors and community groups, spent months protesting the city’s plan to sell the public parcel to private developers for a luxury apartment tower with no affordable housing and in violation of the state Surplus Lands Act. Once the parcel was opened up to new development proposals in July, our coalition quickly switched gears and began envisioning what should be built on the land.

We started with the community outreach that the City of Oakland and the developer should have done. We surveyed hundreds of Eastlake residents in multiple languages. We hosted a community design forum, during which two hundred residents gave feedback on how to use the parcel. A team of volunteer architects and designers crunched the data, distilled community design principles to guide development, and put together a comprehensive site plan.

We partnered with a well-respected affordable housing developer, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, which recently completed a 100 percent affordable building for seniors just a few blocks from the East 12th parcel… (more)

Can San Francisco follow Oakland’s lead and allow the citizens to design the affordable projects for their neighborhoods? Or will we succumb to the top down model?

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