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Berkeley Needs Housing, But It Shouldn’t Get Rid Of People’s Park

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I am not a NIMBY. I get called a lot of things on the internet, but NIMBY actually would offend me. I detest NIMBYs. They are the biggest problem in the State of California. I really and truly believe that, so what I’m about to say may sound out of character: 

Berkeley shouldn’t build at People’s Park. 

I usually write articles that are satirical and purposefully sensational, but today, since it has come to my attention that Gavin Newsom has signed a bill clearing the way for construction to take place at People’s Park, I’m going to list my reasons in a respectful manner. 

Preservation of History and Culture:

People’s Park has a storied history, dating back to the late 1960s when it became a symbol of the counterculture movement. It was a place of protest, art, and expression during a pivotal time in American history. Razing this historic space would erase a tangible part of Berkeley’s cultural heritage. Instead of destroying this history, efforts should be made to preserve and commemorate it.

Inclusive Green Space in an Urban Environment:

Amidst the concrete jungles of modern cities, green spaces are essential for the well-being of residents. People’s Park offers a unique oasis of greenery in the heart of Berkeley. Most of Berkeley’s parks are far from the urbanized sections of the city. It serves as a vital recreational area, offering respite from the urban hustle and bustle. Building housing here would rob the city of a valuable green space that contributes to residents’ quality of life.

Affordable Housing Discrepancies:

While there is undoubtedly a need for more affordable housing in Berkeley, converting People’s Park may not be the most equitable solution. The park is centrally located and serves as a gathering place for various communities. Building housing here could result in the displacement of the park’s current users, potentially exacerbating the housing crisis for other low-income residents.

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Alternative Sites Exist:

Berkeley has several other suitable locations for housing development that would not necessitate the destruction of People’s Park. The city should prioritize repurposing underutilized lots and brownfield sites or engaging in development projects that align with the city’s housing goals without sacrificing a culturally significant public space.

Community Engagement:

Any decision regarding People’s Park should involve extensive community engagement. The voices of residents, activists, and park users must be heard and valued in shaping the future of this space. Rushing into housing development without robust public input could lead to social unrest and division within the community.

Cultural and Artistic Significance:

People’s Park is more than just a patch of green; it is a hub for artistic and cultural expression. The park has been home to countless art installations, performances, and events that celebrate diversity and creativity. These activities enrich the community and contribute to Berkeley’s reputation as a cultural hub. You can see a list of upcoming events HERE

See, I can be respectful. TOLD YOU.





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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is an Oakland-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground is available now!