Oakland Installation Dispatch


Oakland’s main tidal outwash to the Bay

I’ve had less time to explore lower Oakland on bike as we bear down on the installation of Oakland Fusion, but have made a few early morning tours of the Embarcadero in search  of waterways connecting Lake Merritt and the Bay. I find that a bicycle is the perfect research tool for learning about a city’s watershed, both rider and water under the direct influence of gravity. Finding Oakland’s main tidal outwash (pictured above) gave me insight into the shape of the City from the perspective of water flow. As I stood over the flood of water draining out to the Bay I realized the City of Oakland is essentially a basin, with downtown flanking the banks of the Lake, and the surrounding neighborhoods branching mostly uphill, like spokes connecting to the Lake’s central hub.

I began to think of Oakland’s watershed as a tree structure, or more exactly as a root system in the broader context of its relationship to a larger body of water. There are few remaining oaks in town, but I also began to wonder where they would have naturally grown.

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