Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption

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The Storepaperoomates Retail Market » Catalog and Departments » Book » Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption
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Author: Schwarzer Mitchell

Edition: First

Number Of Pages: 424

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Hella Town reveals the profound impact of transportation improvements, systemic racism, and regional competition on Oakland’s built environment.

Often overshadowed by San Francisco, its larger and more glamorous twin, Oakland has a fascinating history of its own. From serving as a major transportation hub to forging a dynamic manufacturing sector, by the mid-twentieth century Oakland had become the urban center of the East Bay. Hella Town focuses on how political deals, economic schemes, and technological innovations fueled this emergence but also seeded the city’s postwar struggles.

Toward the turn of the millennium, as immigration from Latin America and East Asia increased, Oakland became one of the most diverse cities in the country. The city still grapples with the consequences of uneven class- and race-based development-amid-disruption. How do past decisions about where to locate highways or public transit, urban renewal districts or civic venues, parks or shopping centers, influence how Oaklanders live today? A history of Oakland’s buildings and landscapes, its booms and its busts, provides insight into its current conditions: an influx of new residents and businesses, skyrocketing housing costs, and a lingering chasm between the haves and have-nots.


“Schwarzer’s biography of Oakland is a big book, an important book, a powerful book and an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to reform the city by any means necessary.”
― CounterPunch

“Noteworthy for several reasons, but one is its timeliness. Though Hella Town tells a familiar story — Oakland’s rise as an industrial hub, its fall to the failings of racism, its still-troubled resurgence — the lens through which it makes sense of that story provides insights about how cities come to be (and why they fail) that prove eerily relevant to those writing Oakland’s next act right now. . . . All who want Oakland’s story to read, ultimately, as something other than tragic — more a celebration of all that makes this place uniquely great — should be aware of what building big things (or not building them) can do. Among other things, Hella Town is an excellent education to that end.” ― San Francisco Chronicle

“A sparkling new history filled with lessons for our present.” ― SF Weekly

“A model history of urban development, laying out the stages of ‘Oakland’s built environment’ from its take-off in the last decade of the nineteenth century to the early years of the current century.” ― Geography Realm

“From malls to shipyards to housing in the hills, Mitchell Schwarzer’s book is a sweeping history of development and power.” ― Oaklandside

“The book will likely stir interest among faculty, students, and practitioners in urban planning and design, architecture, and urban history. Readers longing for a heavily descriptive account of Oakland’s urbanization will admire the extent to which the narrative offers a factual extravaganza of the components of the city’s built environment.” ― Journal of Urban Affairs

“Schwarzer traces how decades old decisions about where to put a park or a parking lot, a building or bungalow, a highway or a BART trail shaped the economics and inequities of Oakland.” — KQED Forum

“The book weaves together topics ranging from the rise of car culture to the consolidation of commerce in order to explain decades of policies and priorities that shaped our landscape.” — East Bay Yesterday

“Mitchell Schwarzer’s Hella Town helps fill a substantial hole in American urban planning history. There are good Oakland (CA) books out there, fiction and nonfiction, but none that offer so deep and detailed a history of its growth and development over well more than a century.” — Journal of the American Planning Association

“This book is a deeply engaging analysis of Oakland’s development and disruption and is highly recommended for anyone who wants to know more about Oakland, technology or race. The writing is clear and accessible and the c

Release Date: 28-09-2021

Package Dimensions: 32x237x712

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