Historians, preservationists, students, neighbors and concerned citizens have come together to form the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group to document and preserve the open space of People’s Park and the historic resources encircling it.

Although there is no denying that truly affordable housing is needed, People’s Park is Berkeley’s most famous landmark and is valuable, irreplaceable public open space for the densely populated south campus area. We oppose construction on People’s Park. Our group, which we formed in the summer of 2019, is moved to action by the following issues:

  • People’s Park, a designated city of Berkeley landmark, is the centerpiece of 11 surrounding landmarked properties, each recognized for local, state, and/or national significance.
  • These landmarks, collectively, reflect the historic beginnings and development of both the University of California and the city of Berkeley.
  • Berkeley is one of the most densely populated cities in California and has a need for open space, particularly in the extremely crowded south campus area. The lack of park acreage in Berkeley has been noted for well over 100 years.
  • People’s Park, created by the free speech and community activism of the 1960s, today opens up a clear vista upon the 11 iconic properties, ranging from the pioneer John Woolley House (1876) to one of the great monuments of American architecture, the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
  • The open urban space and the surrounding historic properties have all, together, suffered from disruption, turmoil and instability but share together the potential for transformation as an irreplaceable asset and community resource.
  • Now is the time to call upon the university and the city, together, to acknowledge and to enter into dialogue to preserve and improve People’s Park as the heart and soul of a historic district that will provide much needed open space in the Southside, as well as celebrate a shared place of local, state and national distinction.

We call on the chancellor to join us in celebrating the significant historic and cultural landmarks woven into this unique neighborhood and invite everyone to work together with us to support the People’s Park Historic District as a creative, grassroots, community-based, user-developed initiative. Other sites are available for housing; we oppose construction on the open space of People’s Park.

To add your support or ask questions, contact us at peoplesparkhxdist@gmail.com.

David Axelrod, attorney; Paul Kealoha Blake, co-founder of the East Bay Media Center; Jim Chanin, civil rights attorney; Tom Dalzell, author, union lawyer; Carol Denney, writer, musician; Lesley Emmington, Berkeley resident; Clifford Fred, former Berkeley planning commissioner; Jack Hirschman, former poet laureate of San Francisco; Bonnie Hughes, former Berkeley arts commissioner; Joe Liesner, activist; Osha Neumann, lawyer; Revolutionary Poets Brigade; Marty Schiffenbauer, former Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner; Bob Schildgen, writer; Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney, ASUC president (1969-70); Harvey Smith, public historian, educator; Margot Smith, retired social scientist, activist; Elizabeth Starr, environmental advocate; Zach Stewart, landscape architect for Berkeley Shorebird Park and Willard Park; Daniella Thompson, architectural historian; Mel Vapour, co-founder of the East Bay Media Center; Steve Wasserman, publisher and executive director, Heyday; Anne Weills, civil rights attorney; Charles Wollenberg, California historian, writer.

David Axelrod, attorney; Paul Kealoha Blake, co-founder of the East Bay Media Center; Jim Chanin, civil rights attorney; Tom Dalzell, author, union lawyer; Carol Denney, writer, musician; Lesley Emmington, Berkeley resident; Clifford Fred, former Berkeley planning commissioner; Jack Hirschman, former poet laureate of San Francisco; Bonnie Hughes, former Berkeley arts commissioner; Joe Liesner, activist; Osha Neumann, lawyer; Revolutionary Poets Brigade; Marty Schiffenbauer, former Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner; Bob Schildgen, writer; Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney, ASUC president (1969-70); Harvey Smith, public historian, educator; Margot Smith, retired social scientist, activist; Elizabeth Starr, environmental advocate; Zach Stewart, landscape architect for Berkeley Shorebird Park and Willard Park; Daniella Thompson, architectural historian; Mel Vapour, co-founder of the East Bay Media Center; Steve Wasserman, publisher and executive director, Heyday; Anne Weills, civil rights attorney; Charles Wollenberg, California historian, writer.