Lakeside Green Streets Research

lake merritt community process

Ene and Aili chat it up with local residents on the shores of Lake Merritt.

We’ve been spending a lot of time roaming the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt as we enter the research phase of our public art commission for the City of Oakland’s Lakeside Green Streets initiative. Our project is to be integrated into the landscape plan somewhere in the vicinity of 20th Street where it approaches Lakeside Drive, part of which involves the conversion of the waterfront block of 20th Street into a pedestrian promenade. Ene and I are excited to be working with DCE Planning, who have developed an inspiring landscape plan that combines classic, city park design with ecologically sophisticated structures and plantings.

Wowhaus public projects always commence with a series of improvised community charrettes, where we meet with random samplings of people who represent our target audience. We usually have a survey prepared and visual references to encourage conversation, but mostly we just talk to folks, see what’s on their minds about the neighborhood, the city, the state of the world. Sometimes we stumble into new territory to develop as we advance our project, but most often we find evidence that our thinking is on the right track. The results of this process help us to make a strong case for our proposal, while assuring its successful reception by the community.