Last week, V Smoothe brought attention to a post I wrote a year and a half ago that reflected on the positive and negative points of downtown Oakland. She went on to discuss the seemingly increasing problem of blight in downtown Oakland.
I guess we were having similar thoughts last week because as she was writing that blog post, I was out taking pictures of downtown Oakland. This is what I found.
Graffiti is rampant in downtown Oakland,
especially on abandoned buildings like this one
and this one.
Nearly every newspaper case is covered in graffiti.
And so are the new parking meters.
But it doesn't have to be this way. One solution is to cover buildings, newspaper cases, and mailboxes with art. In four years of working in downtown, I've never seen graffiti on this mural.
Another solution is to build architecturally interesting buildings with no blank walls, like the stopwaste.org building.
Graffiti is not the only problem - littering is rampant. The exposed wires on this lampost aren't the prettiest either (and might not be safe).
People even throw trash into planters, which are meant to beautify the city.
And we can't blame the littering on a lack of trashcans.
So why would anyone spend time in downtown Oakland? Well, because it also can be stunning.
When you look up, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the tall buildings from so many different architectural eras.
And I have hope that as more residents move into the area,
and as more visitors come downtown to enjoy our new entertainment options, the city will be forced to stop ignoring the blight problems downtown.