A Standoff Over People’s Park in Berkeley

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People's Park supporters rally at Sproul Hall to protest the construction of UC Berkeley student housing at the park in Berkeley on Aug. 3, 2022. (KQED/Beth LaBerge)

In 1969, a group of protesters took over a plot of land owned by UC Berkeley and turned it into a green, public space now known as People’s Park. Since then, it’s become a place synonymous with Berkeley’s history of protest, resistance and mutual aid. Over the last two years, it also became home to dozens of unhoused people, prompting reports of crime and complaints from some residents.

Now, UC Berkeley is planning to replace the park with student housing. Supporters say it’s necessary to address a student-housing crisis. Opponents say that the development would destroy an important community space and displace unhoused people. 

Guest: Supriya Yelimeli, Berkeleyside housing and homelessness reporter