Chapter 11: San Antonio and Fruitvale
University of California, Berkeley
AbstractOakland, California's, history is replete with notable contributions and accomplishments: architectural, political, literary, and economic, among others. From a thriving and bustling city in the 1930s and 1940s when it was the fastest growing industrial city on the west coast, Oakland stumbled into decades of decline, its magnificent architecture towering over abandoned streets, boarded-up shops, and scarce pedestrians. The city has struggled for years to revive and thrive. However, even as residents lament the city's economic decline, the crime rates, and the failure of one plan or another to rejuvenate the city, they point proudly to what they consider Oakland's most enduring asset: its racial and ethnic diversity. "It has been said that Oakland is the most integrated city anywhere," boasts the Oakland Unified School District annual report (1993). "According to the 1990 census, the population of Oakland is composed of at least 82 language and ethnic groups." Many residents hope that this asset, unlike others, will in fact be preserved and that its diversity does not fall victim to the economic vagaries that have ravaged the city. By identifying the factors responsible for promoting or undermining Oakland's diversity, it may be possible to ensure that it will remain an asset rather than become a liability. This article represents a preliminary attempt to identify those factors through an examination of the experience of the city's two most diverse community development districts: San Antonio and Fruitvale.