Downtown Specific Plan Update

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Oakland Conduit received the following letter from the City of Oakland regarding the Downtown Specific Plan:

Dear Oakland Community,

Thank you for attending the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan Social Equity Working Group Meetings on July 31 to August 3.

We are grateful for the outpouring of positive feedback and support from across the community. We appreciate the concerns you’ve shared that would make this process even more inclusive. We want you to know your voices have been heard. The valuable insight you shared during the Social Equity Working Group Meetings is being synthesized to revise the plan goals and develop strategies for each topic area so that the plan prioritizes improving outcomes for Oakland’s most vulnerable populations.


  • View materials. View the presentations and the matrix of community issues that informed the draft goals on the City's website.
  • Read summaries. View summaries of the meetings and what we heard from the community here.
  • Talk to us. Voice your vision for downtown Oakland here in the outreach website’s comments section.
  • Tell your friends. Share this information with your communities, councils, boards, and networks!!!

From the hundreds of comments about the meetings, below are some of the main recommendations that emerged for the planning process:

  • More outreach. Continue outreach to the disabled, homeless, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.
  • Everyday people. Continue outreach to and have activities led by artists, activists, and everyday people from the local community.
  • Youth. Focus on the needs of young people.
  • Keep talking. Create ongoing space for community members to meaningfully engage with each other and the City to share thoughts, ideas and solutions.


  • Use your ideas. We are using your ideas to inform the revised goals, strategy ideas and the racial equity impact analysis and planning for the next round of meetings based on your input.
  • Solve problems. Stay tuned for weekend and evening meetings in November or December focusing on design options for specific neighborhoods and studying possible strategies to meet the goals you’ve identified. We will be sending out more information about these in the coming weeks. Check our outreach page soon with Upcoming Events for exact times and locations.
  • More conversations. We are hosting additional conversations specifically with vulnerable populations and activists to lift up underrepresented voices and experiences. If you or your community would like to be a part of these conversations or have an event in mind you think we should be involved in please let us know.
  • Listen to people of color. We will continue to address the impacts of traditional approaches to city planning as it relates to equitable outcomes. In doing so, we will center the voices and perspectives of underrepresented and marginalized community members, and have honest conversations about how the history of racial and other discrimination in Oakland impacts residents’ everyday lives.
  • Stay in touch. Where you have questions or concerns, we want you to share them, so we can engage and think about how to better accomplish this work together. Where you see success and growth, please share these insights too, so we can build on what’s working.

If you’d like to discuss the City’s approach further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time (email The City intends for this specific plan to institutionalize equity, unify the city, make a downtown that works for all Oaklanders, and keep the Town in Downtown. Your insights will help us achieve that goal.

The Plan Downtown Team