Master Plans/Specific Plans Social & Environmental Justice Downtowns

Downtown Oakland Specific Plan

Oakland, California

Creating a dynamic vision for downtown Oakland

Opticos is providing urban design and planning services for Plan Downtown Oakland to help identify and support the community’s vision for reinforcing downtown’s vibrancy to benefit the entire city and region. Plan Downtown Oakland focuses at an incremental level on urban design by way of neighborhood character, community building, variety and returning public spaces back to the people, while also proposing grand interventions.

Grand interventions are more difficult to implement today, requiring the need to think big and small for capital improvements and development. Plan Downtown Oakland presents an assortment of solutions, such as building upon the DNA of neighborhoods, generating a vibrant public realm, providing a range of building types, expanding safe, comfortable bike infrastructure, and converting I-980 from a highway into a boulevard.

With affordability and equity at the forefront, Plan Downtown Oakland also lays out strategies to manage growth without displacement by focusing infill development on vacant, surface parking and underutilized lots.

Opticos is part of a multidisciplinary team led by Dover, Kohl & Partners. Downtown is composed of eight distinct neighborhoods and, as part of the team, Opticos has focused on three of these eight. We are also playing an integral role in the overall urban design framework, plan goals, public realm design, growth scenarios, and design of building types that are compatible in scale and form to the existing building fabric.

The public process to produce the Specific Plan began in the fall of 2015 with a series of community workshops designed to gather stakeholder input and identify the most important planning issues. Workshops were followed by an intense, ten-day community design charrette that produced vision plans for downtown. Post-charrette, the conversation has continued by way of small group meetings, workshops and an online forum.