downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Where is the DTO? Wikipedia Edition

May 20, 2011

Our discussion of downtown’s districts is rooted in history, perception, and, hopefully, some urban logic. Without new maps by any authority or a common frame of historic reference, district boundaries and names are easily contested. Wikipedia, the community-driven encyclopedia, has entries for most downtown Oakland districts which, while not authoritative, offer additional information to help inform the debate.

Reading these entries and paying attention to the footnotes can help inform the discussion over downtown’s present and future. What do you think of these resources? What’s missing? Is there too strong of a viewpoint for these articles to be helpful?

Lakeside Apartment District from Wikimedia

1 comment

1 don { 05.24.11 at 10:10 pm }

I haven’t waded through all of these but the Jack London entry contains almost no coherent or convincing history at all. The questions that surfaced for me (some rhetorical, some not): surely this wasn’t always called “Jack London Square”? So what was it called? Why and how was it renamed? When? Where’s the Produce District in this? Oh, and who’s Jack London and why would Oakland name something after him?

And what history it does contain is a bit misleading: “The district developed early in Oakland’s history as a warehouse and industrial district due to its proximity to major transportation.” Well, no. The Jack London District did not, because we do in fact know perfectly well this was not the Jack London District, say, 1880, when the cited Long Wharf was built – and Jack London was a toddler. In fact, it’s barely the Jack London District now – ask a hundred people and I’ll bet you 99 of them tell you it’s Jack London Square.