The Eastlake neighborhood in Oakland, California, is one of the most diverse communities in that city. It is home to African Americans, Latinos, Southeast Asian immigrants, and Native Americans. Yet Eastlake’s main open space—Clinton Park—was an underutilized asset. It covers a city block and includes towering trees and open spaces, but it did not offer an attractive, safe place for children to play. It also suffered from poor maintenance and the perception that it was unsafe.
Beginning in 1996, with input from residents, local merchants, community groups, and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Urban Ecology created a park design that would:
enhance the environmental quality of the park and neighborhood
celebrate the community’s multicultural heritage and identity
create a setting for social interaction
provide children’s play facilities
increase safety around the park by reducing the traffic speeds along bordering streets
use the park as a tool to attract and revitalize local small businesses
By 2002, some of Clinton Park’s promise had begun to be realized. With the help of Urban Ecology’s plan, the city secured more than $2 million for new lighting, benches, streetscape improvements, and trees. In 2003, Urban Ecology gathered residents again to reaffirm the specific goals of establishing a children’s play area, community stage, and central lawn. Shortly thereafter, the City of Oakland earmarked $250,000 for a new children’s play area at Clinton Park.
See the complete Clinton Park Plan.