Archive of Urban Futures

This project will take the form of a database of material about Oakland and visions of and for its future over time. The content will be heterogeneous, ranging from official reports, plans, and legislation to videos, counter-maps, and material cultural objects. Ultimately, our collection of materials will provide a robust documentation of how Oakland has been built, experienced, imagined, and transformed. This project will support our effort to develop a methodology for speculative urbanisms; that is, an approach to studying the reinvention of urban futures, which in their radical uncertainty are full of potential for radical transformation.

We examine the interplay between spatial projects by dominant actors, and bottom-up efforts to refashion Oakland and the place of its residents in the city. In the face of increasing change resulting from gentrification and policies that contribute to displacement of communities of color, through the Archive of Urban Futures, we seek to understand the scale and continuity of this cultural and political resistance, and how it has laid a foundation for the current efforts to reclaim space in Oakland. Four thematic modules will structure the archive:

ecosystems of emplacement, governing urban change, industry + infrastructure, and vernacular worldmaking.

Berkeley Lab for Speculative Urbanisms
University of California, Berkeley