downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Where is the DTO? 2

March 7, 2008

After looking at maps of downtown Oakland created by the Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group and Old Oakland Neighbors, I’ve revised my DTO map to have slightly different neighborhood boundaries. Several questions are raised by this map: is Jack London Square downtown? With high-density housing pushing up Broadway, is downtown expanding northward? Are there more downtown neighborhoods, and are these boundaries correct? How does this map relate to the city’s proposal to impose height limits throughout downtown, for the first time in Oakland’s history?

The underlying map is from the Oakland Convention and Vistors’ Bureau, and contains major errors but is pretty. I will look for another base map for the next update.


1 V Smoothe { 03.07.08 at 11:15 pm }

In my mind, downtown is limited by Jack London Square, Oak Street/Lake Merritt, 580, and West Grand.

2 erocking { 03.08.08 at 12:53 am }

What the heck is “sobo”?

3 masb { 03.08.08 at 6:32 pm }

I like your map. My neighborhood falls right on the edge of the Uptown Triangle (23rd Street) and I definitely feel like I am in downtown.

4 dto510 { 03.11.08 at 5:11 pm }

erocking: SOBO = South of Broadway Oakland. The name was coined by the lady merchants of 17th Street.

masb: Thanks! In light of the Auto Row redevelopment and the lack of a physical barrier at Grand, areas between the DTO and Koreatown are more downtown than anywhere else, at least. But first the neighborhood will need a new name – Northgate reeks of planner-ease (Uptown used to be called Gateway by the city in the pre-Jerry Brown era).

5 mathew { 04.06.08 at 7:25 am }

Please check out these maps I made. Not my own mental maps, but defined by the city way back in 1982, but still really useful (at least for me) in understanding the geography of Oakland.

Oakland Districts:

Oakland Neighborhoods:

6 Felix { 04.15.08 at 4:18 pm }

Huh, I guess I’d think Jack London isn’t downtown because downtown is (in my mind) defined by its use. Downtown is the corporate center, Jack London is still mainly a tourist and residential district.

7 Ian { 04.26.08 at 9:15 pm }

SOBO? That area is east of Broadway; Broadway is a north-south street. I know about the tradition and all, but I don’t think the name of the area has to be the same as those shops, especially when it’s so confusing.

8 dto510 { 05.13.08 at 8:38 pm }

Ian, as you probably know, Oakland is not planned along an axis. South is actually a better description of that side of Broadway than East.

9 Chris K. { 06.07.08 at 10:07 am }

dto510, Broadway runs what? …northeast /southwest? so you are both correct on some level, no? Anyways, for what it’s worth, convention and tradition here in Oakland seems to give it a bit of an East/West Axis along 14th St., and North/South along Broadway. Hence: “East 14th St.,” “East Oakland.” Please educate us to the error of our ways if this is wrong. Matthew: great map! Thanks for the link.

10 Berkeley/Oakland Reflections: Downtown « Living in the O { 06.28.08 at 1:19 am }

[...] DTO doesn’t. And ultimately I realized that the DTO has no main artery. Sure, there are some vibrant sub-neighborhoods (Old Oakland, Chinatown) and ones that are on their way (SOBO, Uptown), but to me they all feel [...]