Follow up of People’s Park, Berkeley

A barrier on one side and shipping container on the other side ending in a dead end.After a long legal battle the UC Berkeley moved ahead the night of January 3rd, 2024 to clear People’s Park from its inhabitants and wall it off with double-stacked shipping containers. The park near Telegraph Ave, on the corner of Haste and Bowditch Streets and Dwight Way, will be reinvented with much needed student housing. The plan also includes affordable housing units and almost ⅔ of it will remain greenspace. The large greenspace is to commemorate the park’s history as a meeting point for free speech and protest culture. 

Double stack shipping containers blocking off People's Park in BerkeleyThe City thought that the unsightly container wall was needed after protestors destroyed $1.5 million worth of equipment last year. 

So who is opposing the development? 

Is it just wealthy progressive people being NIMBY’s (Not In My BackYard)? Or are these nostalgic hippies, recollecting the historical fights planned out in the park?

A tree peeking out over the shipping containersI think it is a mixture of both. The halt of the building project by a court order in 2022 citing environmental reasons. This definitely was a NIMBY move. In a KQED report on the park, students expressed  concern that not all possible sites were evaluated before People’s Park was chosen. People’s Park is a historic landmark, and already has a bloody track record each time the UC decided to develop it.

Who is responsible for the housing shortage? 

Barbed wire on top of the shipping containersBerkeley has the lowest rate of housing offered to their students among the UCs (about 20% for undergraduates and 9% for graduates). When the university was founded in 1868 it modeled itself after German universities that offer a great education but no housing. The Bay Area, being one of the most expensive places in the world to live, worries students each year in search of affordable housing.

Are you a supporter of affordable housing or People’s Park?