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November 30, 2010

Jack London Square – Oakland, CA

OK – this isn’t about sailing, you’re right.  It’s really a tirade on urban planners and designers of our cities.

Jack London Square in Oakland, CA is a short kayak trip away from where Sage is moored.  I can put the kayak in the water, paddle for about 10 minutes and be in the centre of what is an incredibly beautiful re-designed industrial area.  Back in the mid 1990’s Oakland wanted to re-develop part of its waterfront which sits on an estuary where large cargo ships come in to load and unload. OK, yes there is a sailing picture here of me at the helm of Sage sailing in the Oakland Estuary.

Coming to my point.  Jack London Square is this incredible public space.  No cars,  lots of open public space, dockage, the eye-catching Potomac (not the river, but FDR’s yacht ), hotels, restaurants, a few shops, lots of empty storefronts and here’s the catch NO residential area close by.  It appears that there was no thought given to what makes a place vibrant i.e. housing.  People who will come and shop in the stores, buy fruits and vegetables, magazines, books, clothing and all those things that people need and want.

So, the place is almost deserted.  The restaurants are still there as well as the hotel but the gigantic Barnes and Noble store closed in January 2010.  It still remains a beautiful area and the most vibrant store is the kayak shop which sells ‘Current Design’ kayaks built in Victoria!

Ah well that’s my tirade for the day.  Below a few more pictures of the area…..

Explanation of statue

Jack London himself

Jack London fountain


Oakland Estuary


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