Forum From the Archives: “Hella Town” Traces the History of Oakland Through Its Built Environment

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 (University of California Press)

Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in the country. It’s also one of the most unequal. Architectural and Urban Historian Mitchell Schwarzer dives into the politics and decisions that helped make it that way in his new book, Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption.  Schwarzer traces how decades-old decisions about where to put a park or a parking lot, a building or a bungalow, a highway or a BART rail shaped the economics and inequities of Oakland.  Forum talks to Schwarzer about the history of the city’s booms and busts and the complexities of today’s Oakland.


Mitchell Schwarzer, author, Hella Town: Oakland's History of Development and Disruption; professor, Architectural and Urban History, California College of the Arts