Over the next few days, I’m going to be writing a series of posts on the blogoaksphere in 2009, both looking back on this year and looking forward to 2010. For the first post in this series, I wanted to highlight eleven new Oakland blogs that were started in 2009 and are still going strong. It’s been very exciting and eye-opening to put this post together. You might remember a post that V Smoothe wrote about a year ago listing and describing all the Oakland bloggers, and it’s great to see that most of these blogs are still around and so many new blogs have joined the blogoaksphere.
Here are several blogs I found, listed in order of when they were started. If you’re not already following these blogs, I recommend checking them out, as I’m sure they’ll continue to post thought-provoking and informative material in 2010. (Note: I didn’t include organizational blogs or websites that have blogs but are not primarily blogs.)
Oaklander Online (12/14/08): I’m cheating a bit by including this one, but I thought it made sense, since it started at the very end of last year and developed mostly through 2009. This blog has covered all sorts of issues, including local shopping, restaurant reviews, and Glenview neighborhood updates, but where the blog has really shined is in its history posts. There were a couple of posts on the Parkway, including some incredible photos from its early past and some more general Glenview and Oakland history posts with equally impressive historical photos. Oaklander Online even dug up a reaction to the installation of parking meters in Glenview in 1979. If you’re looking for Oakland history and Glenview neighborhood updates, this is the place to go.
Fragmentary Evidence (1/1/09): If this was a competition, I would easily pick Fragmentary Evidence as the best new Oakland blog of 2009. Since its start, this blog has always been thoughtful, insightful, and filled with gorgeous and sometimes unexpected photos of Oakland. As a bonus, it’s written by an avid bicyclist who sees the importance of alternative means of transportation and how the needs of transit users have often been sidelined in Oakland by car drivers and automobile-centric planning. One of my favorite posts dc wrote this year was “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Parker Scorned,” about this summer’s parking rebellion, though whether you agree with dc’s pro-bike and alternative transportation leanings or not, you’re sure to find something to enjoy on his blog.
Our Oakland (1/13/09): If you’ve ever read Our Oakland, the first thing you probably think of is Gene’s incredible focus on Oakland signs. He’s photographed dozens of neon and other interesting signs throughout the city and catalogued them on this pretty astounding Google map. But there’s more than just signs at Our Oakland, including urban farming, restaurant and festival reviews, neighborhood musings, and a little bit of nearly everything else. One of the things I appreciate most about Our Oakland is that Gene covers geographical locations that are spread throughout East, West, North, and central Oakland so no matter where you live, chances are he’s written something about your part of town.
Defending Measure Y (2/14/09): I have to admit that I didn’t start reading this blog until a few months ago, but I’m glad that I finally did. Written by Marleen Lee, who sued Oakland over its failure to fully implement Measure Y, this blog provides a fascinating look into the details of Measure Y and its implementation. Whether you’re interested in public safety, legal issues, or just want to read about how the City functions (or fails to function), this blog is worth checking out.
Rebuilding Oaktown (2/26/09): This blog is written by Ken O, an Uptown resident who runs a pedi-cab and advocates for better urban planning in Uptown. Rebuilding Oaktown covers all sorts of topics, ranging from positive musings about Uptown’s cultural offerings, to complaints about how the city is run. While I don’t always agree with Ken’s ideas, I appreciate his creativity and willingness to propose new ideas, like his proposal to grow hemp in the empty uptown parking lot.
21st Century Urban Solutions (3/31/09): This blog isn’t just about Oakland, but since its author, Daniel Jacobson, has covered so many Oakland transportation and planning issues this year, I thought it was worth including. Particularly, Daniel did an excellent job covering the Oakland Airport Connector debacle, explaining the problems with the project and providing alternative solutions. Daniel also wrote about other Oakland issues, including Oakland’s hotel policy and surface parking in downtown Oakland. Even when he’s writing about other cities, Daniel’s posts often provide a framework for comparison with Oakland. Particularly, his series on urbanism in Colorado was inspiring and provided lots of great ideas that Oakland should investigate and implement.
Sweeeeet Oakland (7/25/09): Written by Graham Patterson, who moved to Oakland early this year, Sweeeeet Oakland focuses on the lighter side of Oakland, covering arts, events, food, and once in a while treads into the heavier areas of politics and policies. Graham’s blog is a great supplement to the O-Scene for finding out about fun stuff going on in Oakland so if you’re looking for entertainment, check this blog out.
In Oakland (8/19/09): Blogoaksphere veterans V Smoothe and dto510 began blogging this summer at In Oakland, one of the Chronicle’s new local blogs. Though their posts at In Oakland are not nearly as in-depth as their writing at A Better Oakland and Future Oakland, this blog is a great place to get quick updates on breaking Oakland news and events. So check it out and consider writing some comments there to balance out the incredibly anti-Oakland bias of Chronicle commenters.
Oaktown Art (8/31/09): One of the things I’ve been meaning to do since I started my blog was to go around Oakland and snap photos of all the public art and write a series about it. Thankfully, I no longer have to feel guilty about not following through with this project because Oaktown Art has done exactly that and more. Whether you like gallery art, murals, Christmas decorations, graffiti, or just about any kind of art you can imagine, Oaktown Art is the place to see photos of all the art that can be found in Oakland.
OakSnap (10/27/09): OakSnap is a game within a blog, where photos of various places in Oakland are posted and you’re supposed to guess where they were taken. Whether you want to see how you fare at this game or you just want to see more Oakland art, OakSnap is worth checking out.
Back to Oakland (11/6/09): The newest blog in the blogoaksphere is Back to Oakland, a super sweet blog about a journey of a couple moving back to Oakland from the Midwest. I found out about Back to Oakland via its participation in the Bloaksphere Holiday Food Drive and have been captivated ever since. It’s refreshing to read positive stories about Oakland’s natural beauty, excellent food, and diverse community from someone who’s not jaded in the least. If you’re ever feeling down on Oakland, head over to Back to Oakland for a reminder of why this city, even with its myriad of problems, is still the best place to be.
Check back tomorrow for the next post in this series about the biggest blogoaksphere stories of 2009.