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About this City Journal

Welcome to vibrant Oakwood, California. As Northern California's 'second city' it's located handily between Sacramento and San Francisco on the busy Commuter Corridor rail link. Mixing...

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7 SoMa 

SoMa, or more officially Riverview Heights, is the neighbourhood squeezed in between Market Street and the north banks of the Clare River. It's name is a shortening of it's location as South of Market. Until the 1980s it was a squalid collection of warehouses, poverty-ridden tenament blocks and wasteland left over from the manufacturing industries of the 40s. In 1980 the SoMa Plan was put into place, the warehouses knocked down and replaced by modern office blocks, the B Metro and T Trolley lines extended and a office blocks constructed. UC Oakwood built a community campus in the area and housing conditions were vastly impoved. Now SoMa is half a trendy and up-coming neighbourhood and half an important commercial district.


7.1 Map

This segment of Google Maps shows SoMa. 


7.2 6th Avenue

The trendy end of SoMa the shops and housing around 6th Avenue holds the highest prestige. The Richmond Apartments were the first step in the SoMa Plan, built in 1979 they replaced fishing warehouses which once stood there and with their proximity to the offices of downtown and central SoMa they often command very high prices. The Market Street tunnel carrying the A and B Metro lines and the T Trolley under the Clare River can also be seen.


7.3 Central SoMa

The business district, also known as the North Bank Downtown. It is the location of three major office developments. The first; the SoMa business park located at the bottom of the picture comprises of 4 office blocks, Tower 1 and 2 are some of the tallest buildings in the city. City Center is to the left of the picture and is currently owned by AT&T, it is the oldest of the three developments having been built in 1979. To the right of this is Bridgeview and Parkside the two large blocks which incorporate a large retail area on the ground floor as well as a gym and small hotel. These were reclad in 2001. The Riverside extension to the T Trolley line runs through this area with a new station serving the business district at Riverside Gardens.


7.4 Eastern SoMa

The far-end of the SoMa district still has many of the tenaments from the old area but these have been renovated into fashionable apartments. It's major attraction is the city's second stadium; the Staples Stadium home to Oakwood Beasts FC, the city's soccer club. When it is not soccer season the stadium is normally used to house major events such as a recent Kanye West concert. This would be the second and last stop on the Riverside T Trolley extension and would serve the stadium and there are plans to demolish the office blocks to the left of this photo and replace them with a mixed-use development and a park.


7.5 UC Oakwood Community Campus

When the development plan was written up one of the problems found in SoMa was a lack of qualifcations, UC Oakwood was approached and asked to fund a community college in the area. Offering a number of different degrees and vocational qualifications the SoMa Community Campus is a much more accessible pathway to a college education. Also seen is Market / 5th Ave station which was one of the new stations on the extended B line. 


7.6 Market & 4th Avenue

Some of the typical Oakwood-style houses which can be found across the city. These were originally constructed for the warehouse workers but are now affordable housing for local families, the Market Street Elementary school provides a public school for the SoMa area.


7.7 Market Street Tunnel

At the other end of SoMa is the Market Street tunnel. Although it already existed to take the A and B Metro lines under the Clare River the portals to the surface for the T Trolley were constructed in 1982. It added an additional two stations to the line and with the Riverside Extension there will be another two. This area of SoMa just before AC Mayer Bridge is home a number of popular delis and coffee shops.


7.8 London Park / Riverside Gardens

The contaminated land from the industrial era was found not safe enough to construct buildings on top of but over the years the wasteland has been decontaminated and turned into the two park areas; London Park and Riverside Gardens. These 'green lungs' provide important open space in the city and offer nice spaces for picnics on warm summers days. The current terminus of the T Trolley can be seen here as well as the line of its future extension.


7.9 AC Mayer Bridge Approach

The main link between Oakwood's downtown area and Flynn Town, SoMa and Katherine is the AC Mayer Bridge constructed in 1933. It is named after local steel magnate Andrew Chancellor Mayer who funded the construction of the bridge and later I-80. On the north side is Flynn Town and on the south side SoMa and the Roosevelt Memorial to Elanor Roosevelt who was born in Oakwood.



7.10 Riverside / Taylor St

The end of the Taylor St shopping district but still achingly hip. Thrift & Thrift stores have been opening up across California and cashing in on the recent trend for Thrift Store closing, next door is the popular bar The Watchmakers and restaurant Antonio's. The embankment here is one of the oldest sections built in 1904 to stop the river from eroding the banks of the town which had grown up around here.


7.11 T Trolley Map

The in-car map for the T-Trolley line clearly inspired by Harry Beck's famous London Underground Map. Infact OMTA and TfL share the same font for their publications designed by Edward Johnston. 

6 Union Square Redevelopment

Neglected and folorn the old Union Amtrak Station was sandwiched inbetween the 8th St Shopping District, Riverside Stadium and Southside. It occupied 2 city blocks with large parking lots, 2 high-rise apartment buildings and the Southside Branch Library. The concrete building was originally constructed in 1977 to replace one built in the 1930s that had burnt down. At the time the station was connected to the main rail system on three lines. The Capitol Corridor line from Sacramento to San José, the California Zephyr line from Oakland to Chicago and the Coast Starlight service from Seattle to Los Angeles. In 1975 the station caught fire after an explosion on a train waiting in the station and the roof caved in causing irreparable damage. During the reconstruction the line was moved from Oakwood to St Mark and now the California Zephyr and Coast Starlight services bypass the city calling instead at St Mark and only the Capitol Corridor and OMTA's Metro Rail services run from Union Station

As a result of this it was decided that the 6 platform capacity of the old, concrete monstrosity of Union Station was no longer needed and in 2009 a plan was put forward to redevelop the station. By 2012 the work was finished and a new 'quater' of the city had been created with large, glass-fronted office blocks, open pedestrian squares and easy transit links. That's the new Union Square.

6.1 Before (Looking West)
Showing here the largely unused western platforms and the sparsely used central platforms. The station suffered from a lack of use, a lack of investment and thus was shunned by the city in favour of air travel. The only time when the parking lots could be seen full was when there were Tigers games on at the stadium but even then the majority of people chose to arrive by metro or the dedicated 12L bus service from City Hall Transit Center.

6.2 Before (Looking East)
Here Block A and Block B of the Union St development can be seen, these are some of the few remnants of the original Union Station from the 1930s development of the area. Originally designed to be pleasant places to live they quickly became dilapidated and in the 1980s a massive drug problem in the towers resulted in a crackdown on the area. By 2007 the towers were mostly abandoned and their demolition in 2009 was watched by thousands from the roofs of surrounding buildings.

6.3 Construction (Looking North)
Construction begun in 2009 with the leveling of the site and the closure of Arizona St between 8th & 8th Streets. The majority of disruption was caused by the rerouting of Amtrak Capitol Corridor services from Union Station to Delaware Station although many other commuters enjoyed the shedding of 12 minutes from journey times as the trains no longer had to turn around at Oakwood. During early-2012 the development opened in stages with the first area to open being Stadium Walk providing an easy link between Downtown and 8th St without having to go down all the way to California St. After this came the Southside Library, Roger Hurwitz Building, Union Square and finally the new Union Station and New Square. During the 8 months when the glass roof was lifted into position at Union Station Metro Rail services ran to a small set of platforms located just south of Connecticut St and a shuttle bus service was provided.

6.4 Union Station during construction
The temporary station was constructed on the site of the new Union Station and served Metro Rail services from Summer 2009 until the winter of 2011. During this time the blue hoarding became a familiar site around the area for residents and commuters and the large cranes needed to construct the new office complex dominated the skyline for quite some time. Amtrak is currently running a study to see if there would be support for moving all Capitol Corridor services to avoid Union Station all together and instead running a Thruway Coach service from Delaware Station to Oakwood Downtown, Katherine and eventually St Mark Station to connect with California Zephyr and Coast Starlight services. If this were to happen the only services to serve Union Station would be OMTA's Metro Rail services.

6.5 Eighth Street during construction

6.6 After (Looking East)
By 2012 the Union Square development was finished and the contrast between this shot and the last one clearly shows the improvement in the area. The railway station was reduced to two platforms (one for Amtrak and one for Metro Rail) and nestled inbetween the two large towers. Union Square and Stadium Walk were provided to add more pedestrian areas to the development and encourage a "European" feeling of outside dining and large, open spaces. To ease congestion around the development Arizona St was rerouted into a one way system and New Square was constructed.

6.7 Union Square
The new open space here and large open-plan offices take cues from the Docklands development in London and the Transbay development in San Francisco. Originally the are was designed to have a European feel which many of it's critics argue was not achieved due to the public areas being in shadow from the height of the buildings. For almost a year many of the shops on Union Square and California Street remained empty as did most of Hannan Tower due to the continuing effects of the late-00s recession. By 2012 the units had been filled and much of the space in Hannan Tower was leased to the Federal government.

6.8 Southside Library
The new Southside Library replaces the old one on the corner of California & 7th. It has a much enlarged book collection, a new lecture theatre and an improved archives center. The building itself is lighter and airier than the old building with a large glass atrium and the new Kerouac Square named after the famous author Jack Kerouac who visited the city in his epic road trip novel On The Road. Also shown is the improved pedestrian access on Stadium Way which replaces Arizona St and the frontage to the old Union Station. The new one-way system reroutes traffic around the development. The metro station here was also renamed from Stadium / Union Amtrak to Stadium / Union Square as it now lies further away from the station although it is clearly signposted.

6.9 Morgan Stanley Tower, Hannan Tower and Union Station
Here it's clear to see how the new platforms of Union Station were squeezed in between the two largest buildings in the development. The relocation of the station from Arizona St to California St has resulted in the loss of some connectivity with the metro service so a new limited bus service running between City Hall Transit Center and California & 8th; the 13L was begun by OMTA. Recently a trial of double-decker buses on the busy route has proved successful. At ground level chains have taken up the stores facing the street and underground there is a small shopping mall area connecting the two buildings to the railway station which contains shops such as the Tea Leaf & Coffee Bean and the Body Shop.

6.10 8th St and New Square
Some of the major opponents of the plans to redevelop the area were shop owners of the 8th Street Shopping District which borders the project. They argued that new shops would draw business away from theirs. As a result of their appeal in the planning process the original plan to keep Arizona Street as it was was dropped in favour of a new one-way system with New Square taking cars from downtown to 8th St. The increased traffic and office works has actually led to a large increase of business at these shops.

before.jpg  after.jpg
6.11 & 6.12 Before and After shots from Google Maps
On these two maps it's clear to see the realignment of the roads and the relocation of Union Station as well as the locations of the main landmarks within the project.

 Campustown & Riverview

Bordering Downtown and the downtrodden Southside neighbourhood Campustown is a neighbourhood dominated by the prestigious UC Oakwood's City Campus (it's other campus being located in Katherine). Coming just below UC Berkeley in national listings it attracts students from across the globe. It's acreage is smaller than some other UC campuses meaning it's enrollment is smaller than average at around 16,000 enrolled undergraduate and postgraduate students. The surrounding areas are mostly home to student homes in attractive row houses, independent bookstores and coffee shops and university admin buildings. Next door is the neighbourhood of Riverview sandwiched between the Clare River and Campustown with Downtown to the west and the city limits to the east. Houses here are mostly owned by businessmen who work downtown and thus the area is much more gentrified than Southside or Bridgeforth.


5.1 Hannart Park

These shops are very popular with students and lecturers alike. Ritual Roasters coffee shop is the first of the branch to open outside of San Francisco and has rave reviews on the website Yelp meaning queues for it's rich, smooth roast can often go out of the door. Green Leaf Grocery is part of the Delaware Co-Operative Society which also runs two coffee shops and another grocery store on Delaware Avenue. 


5.2 Uptown (Thurton Square)

This area is unofficially known as "Uptown" but really lies within Campustown between the Civic Center and Midtown. In recent years some of the office occupiers here such as Verizon and Chase have wanted to make a more professionally orinetated area to encourage greater development. It worked to some extent with the City Hall Transit Center's renovation leaking over into Thurton Square but the presence of Sam's Campustown branch is a constant reminder of the area's bohemian roots in the 1970s before many of the office blocks were constructed and independent stores and tenements lined the streets around the University.


5.3 Upper Riverview

Rubbing up against Market Avenue and the Clare River the Upper Riverview neighbourhood is an odd mix between renovated tenement buildings, 1950s apartment blocks and more modern office buildings bleeding into the area from Downtown. It has traditionally been badly served by public transport but the reinstatement of the T Trolly line along 14th St and Market Ave has made commuting to Downtown and Midtown much easier. 


5.4 Livermore Square

City Cemetery is the size of a city block and was begun in 1922 as a way to provide the city's burial needs out of the city's central area. In the 1930s development grew up around the cemetery along the T Trolly line which runs around it and by 1954 the cemetery was full and bodies begun to be burried in the larger cemeteries in St Mark and Katherine outside city limits. A limited number of plots are still available for the city's mayors as a sort of reward. Livermore Square is a small collection of stores based around the H line metro station including a Starbucks and the independent Ridgemore Groceries.


5.5 East Campustown

A very student orientated area of Oakwood East Campustown is home to a mix of row houses rented out to students, a huge apartment block called City Apartment Tower and a small strip mall. This kind of mixed density development is due to an odd policy of zoning law which varies from block to block and has been criticsed by many for allowing such large developments as City Apartments. Oleg Field soccer ground belongs to the Wilmott Alec School across the road but is also used by the public and UC Oakwood's small soccer team.


5.6 Central Campustown

Bordering UC Oakwood's campus this row of shops is mainly used by students. It is also opposite the semi-public Alan Morson Library which is owned by UC Oakwood but due to an agreement reached in 1995 it was opened to the public for their research and usage. The shops here are mostly independent apart from McDonalds and Wells Fargo bank. Burston Books on the corner of 13th & California offers the best array of academic books in the city and is part-owned by the UC Trust.


5.7 UC Oakwood West

Built mainly in the early 1940s in a style similar to that of the long-established UC Berkeley Oakwood University was absorbed into the UC Trust in 1959 and has gone from strength to strength academically. The Social Sciences and Tellese Buildings are the most recent additions to the campus (other than the Alan Morson Library) being built in 1984. 


5.8 UC Oakwood North

The main building on campus is the ornate Bannerman Hall which is located at the top of Chancellor Drive. Inside is a large dining hall, 3 lecture theatres and admin offices. The West Building is the main home of the School of the Arts and includes 10 different studios for various artistic enterprises. The Campus Lake was created in 1960 when soil was needed to landscape an area of demolished buildings at the rear of the University and an ornate lake was created.


5.9 UC Oakwood Campus Map

A map of the main City Campus which takes up 4 city blocks and intercepts 13th St and Connecticut St.


4 The Oakwood Observer (21 August)

I decided to make a newspaper for my city seeing as I have an interest in journalism, politics, urban planning and graphic design it was the perfect thing to do. As such I've made the Oakwood Observer which is heavily influenced by the San Francisco Chronicle (the paper I read whilst in the US). The reports and design are my own alas the photographs are not.



4.1 The Oakwood Observer Front Page


3 Bridgeforth & Downtown Overview

Bridgeforth is a tenemant-filled neighbourhood north of downtown and across the Clare River. Originally built for workers in the steelworks in the 1920s the neighbourhood has always been home to a large ethnic population ranging from Chinese immigrants in the 40s to a large African-American population in the 1950s and 60s. Today the area is a mixture of Russian, Vietnamese and African-Americans making it the most diverse neighbourhood in the city. During the 80s there was a "Bridgeforth Plan" put forward by Mayor Chesney Roberts to clear away the tenemants and replace them with modern apartment buildings, evidence of this can be seen but many of the tenemants are still in place as the plan was never totally carried out. Due to it's ethnic populaton it hasn't been subject to as much gentrifcation as the Delaware and Church neighbourhoods.


3.1 Mailer / 9th Ave

Here is probably where the largest amount of redevelopment took place. You can see two apartment buildings built on the site of the old tenemants in 1981 as well as the Stanley Gurertwich Memorial Library named after the radical mayor of the 1970s who bought major prosperity to the city by allowing huge redevelopment of the downtown area. The library was built in 1992 after foundations along this road were disrupted by the extension of the G Line across the river.


3.2 North Embankment

The east end of Bridgeforth houses some of the poorest families in the whole of Oakwood. It is also home to the largest crime rate and the highest teenage pregnancy rate both state and federal funds have gone to revelop the area without a great deal of success. As part of the Bridgeforth Plan many of the community gardens which had become overgrown were replaced with parking lots to encourage greater car ownership (and therefore greater employment it was believed). When Mayor Roberts was ousted from office some plots were returned to their original state and public transport was focused on with the extension of the G Line and the number 7 bus route was redirected from Mailer Street to Kennedy Street.


3.3 North Bridgeforth

The northern end of Bridgeforth is home to a very large African-American population many of which came to the city as a result of the lack of civil rights in the South in the 1950s. As such the neighbourhood is peppered with amazing grocery stores including the famous Hannan Stores portrayed in the 1999 film "An Ode to the Oak". This area of the city is on the limits of Clare and Montgomery Counties and as such is served by both OMTA buses and CT buses from across the border providing links to downtown Oakwood and downtown Catherine.


3.4 Lurie Park / East Bridgeforth

Bordering the prosperous Lurie Park neighbourhood East Bridgeforth has recieved more attention than it's poorer neighbourhoods and it's population is a vibrant mix of Russian, Ukranian and middle-class office workers who enjoy an easy commute across AC Mayer Bridge to downtown. It is also home to many CIA employees who work just across the road is the huge CIA Federal Building built in the 1970s. As well as the neatly painted rows of houses and polite neighbours the area has just recieved a branch of Raley's supermarket on the site of an abandoned office building. Some have argued the small branch poses a major threat to local delis and grocery stores especially those on the pleasant Bellow Street and Lower Lurie districts.

Now for something a bit different and these are some establishing shots of the area I would now consider to be most completed in my city and that is the Downtown and Upper Midtown areas. Downtown is what is north of the major Market Street throughfare and Midtown is what is south of it.


3.5 North Downtown / South Bridgeforth

The Clare River cuts right through Oakwood and this can be seen clearly as it divides the prosperous, gleaming downtown with the ethnically diverse and poorer neighbourhoods over in Bridgeforth. The Booker Bridge was built in 1886 and was the first bridge to cross the river that remains today it carries across the 6, 10 and CT11 bus routes and underneath it runs the 1990s extension of the G Line.


3.6 Central Market

The Bank of America Tower dominates the Oakwood skyline and the areas surrounding it. Central Market is home to Macy's Department store, the CityCenter shopping mall containing branches of major names like Brookstone, American Eagle, Hot Topic and H&M. As well as this there is a flagship store of Old Navy and Forever 21. As can be seen most of the buildings like the Logan and Provincial Towers were built in the mid-70s under the redevelopment plan of Mayor Gurertwich in order to encourage a large financial sector to set-up shop in the city.


3.7 Upper Market

The massive Pylon Square development featuring the two, huge office blocks of 302 and 303 Market Street was completed in 2003 and is currently home to American Airlines, Barclays International, Bank of the West and a few, smaller tennants. The Banking Center was another of Mayor Guretwich's developments and that is currently home to Amazon.com and AIG. The building is a very pleasant place to work with it's huge windows, communal staff areas, coffee shops and large courtyards. Also shown here is the Filmore Museum of Art built in 1959 and home to one of the most important collections of American Art from 1900 onwards including artists such as David Hockney and California's own Ansel Adams.

3.8 Map


So here is the Downtown installment of my Google Map for Oakwood. I've actually completed the road, rail and subway network map for the whole city in the style of Google Maps but as of yet it's not actually finished but since I've completed the Downtown segment I hunkered down and got this up-to-date.


I hope you enjoyed my latest segment. I've just been accepted into a University in London to study Politics in September so I hope I will keep updating this until I leave and then when I return in the holidays I'll take it out of retirement for you folks and work on it some more. Still that's all in the future and there's a good few updates coming until then. Comments are, of course, very welcome.

- Adam


2 Delaware, Southside & Church

Through the decades this area (known often as C District due to it being served by the C Line of the Metro) has been famous for it's cultural and artistic heart. In the 1960s as the tenements were cleared to be replaced by residential areas north of the river squatters moved in and claimed many of the empty buildings. From a hippy heartland during the 70s and 80s it was home to a burgoning population of artists and musicians and today it is often described as the Mission of Oakwood as the hipster takes over.


2.1 Southside

Located just south of Midtown the Southside area used to be under the control of poverty and gang violence but during the 1980s it recieved a large grant from the federal government and it was hugely gentrified. Now most of the homes belong to city workers who live within walking distance of their Midtown offices and just a short bus ride away from Downtown. The Safeway here is one of the classic designs from the 1960s and was the 3rd built in the city and one of the first 10 built on the West Coast. The Southside Branch Library backs onto the railway tracks that split the Southside in half and lead into Union Station.


2.2 Delaware Park

Delaware Park is often seen as the more affluent area of Delaware. The park itself is home to the major tourist attraction in the area; the Delaware Tower which is a scaled down version of the Coit Tower in San Francisco built in 1964 by Harry Kings, it is reported he wanted to feel more like he was back at home in San Francisco and had the tower built so he could see it from his home 2 blocks away. Also shown is the Fat Buddah one of the best delis in the whole city and very popular with hipsters. On the corner of Delaware & 4th is the area's only Starbucks coffee shop which opened, to much controversey earlier this year.


2.3 Central Delaware

This is the central stretch of Delaware Street just to the east of the Amtrak Station. It is all shops and cafés between 5th & 8th Streets. In this section there is the famous 3 Alarm bookshop which is housed inside the old fire station (since relocated Downtown). Inside there are two levels of second-hand books and the pole between the first and second floors is still very much in use. Also in this area are The Co-Op grocery store and Green Leaf vegan café both run by the Delaware CoOperative Society. The Society also organises events in Smith Park and operates the small coffee shop located inside Delaware's Amtrak station.


2.4 West Church

West Church has recieved less gentrification than other areas of the C District and as such is still home to quite a large and poor black population. In 2008 legislation was passed to improve the living conditions and the effects have started to be seen with more money being pumped into the rennovation of the tenemant buildings and the cleaning up of the communal gardens which back on to the railway tracks. The houses around this area are quite popular still with artists due to them being incredibly cheap.


2.5 East Church

East Church is located on the other side of the railway tracks from West Church and is a higher density neighbourhood with buildings of 10 and more floors. Some of these have been redecorated and refurbished and provided by the local resident's union as cheap and affordable housing and some are still in a poor state awaiting this treatment. Similarly to West Church the area has a large black population but it tends to be more affluent and this shown by the few shops that are down 9th Street including a Peet's Coffee and Radio Shack.


2.6 Connecticut Street

Connecticut Street backs onto the commerical area of Delaware Street and this particular section in Delaware is the perfect example of gentrification. The communal gardens that used to be shared by the tenemant blocks have been replaced by parking areas and parks and the street has been cleaned and lined with newly planted trees. As opposed to rents of about $400 a month found in West Church apartments here can often get upwards of $900 a month due to it's proximity to the trendy Delaware Street and the C Line on the Metro. In 1991 a fire ripped through the tenemant blocks of Trent Gardens killing 14 people. The affected buildings were demolished and replaced by a modern apartment building. In Trent Gardens a small memorial remains to those killed, mostly Thai immigrants.


2.7 Delaware Station

Despite being superceeded by the faster Metro as a way to commute into Downtown Amtrak still runs a profitable commuter service from 2nd Street Amtrak to Union Station in Midtown as it is less crowded and cheaper than the Metro. The station itself is a 1960s replacement of a large, Victorian building that was buldozed to make way for I-80 which runs just to the south of the railway line. Inside the station is a coffee shop run by the Delaware CoOperative Society, a ticket office and a small waiting room. The building on the corner of Station Approach and Delaware is the animation department of the Oakwood Academy of the Arts University.


2.8 East Delaware

In this area the Delaware neighbourhood bleeds into the more prosperous and 'proper' Outer Stockton neighbourhood. It is also the end of the Delaware Street shop with a Goodwill Thrift Store and a number of second hand bookshops as well as the Buena Vista Taqueria which does the best burritos in Oakwood. This area is home to a higher density of housing than the rest of Delaware resulting in more commuters living here and a more gentrified range of shops.


1 A Whistlestop Tour

This is just a quick whistlestop tour since I've not yet completed the city so I've concentrated on the main tourist attractions.


1.1 The Safeway Center

The Safeway Center is a large convention center located just off the AC Mayer Bridge. It hosts several major events and at the moment is hosting the 2009 meeting of vmworld. Safeway has a large link to the town as it was the location of the first Safeway store on the West Coast and the company has it's California headquaters in the 303 Market Street building just across the way from the convention center.


1.2 Riverside Stadium

Formerly known as the Staples Stadium but renamed after the sponsorship deal fell through. It is home to the Oakwood Tigers baseball team and can often see capacity crowds on a hot, summers day. Located right next to the river the stadium also incorporates a park. The Equity Building was built in 1977 to house Equity Insurance and as a result of it's proximity to the Riverside Stadium there are often arguments inside as to who gets the desks nearest the north windows.


1.3 Civic Center

Home to the 1940s City Hall and Federal Tower built in 1933 the Civic Center area houses the Courthouse, Assembly Rooms, City Hall, Archives Center and the heart of the transit network; the City Hall / 11th St Transit Center which crosses every metro line and most bus lines. As such the area is often packed to capacity during rush hour. As a result the area was recently redeveloped to accomodate a large new office building with a retail arcade and a 'cultural center' as well as the new Archives Library.


1.4 Portland Place

One of Daniel Liberskind's first projects was the pavillion in the center of Portland Place. Comissioned by the Bank of America in 1988 it is one of the nicest spots in the city to hang out. Recently there has been outrage at plans to build a kiosk for a Peet's Coffee in the plaza but locals have argued it would ruin the aesethics of the whole square.


1.5 NBC Center

The central media center home of KCRA NBC the local network television station as well as the Oakwood Examiner the city's free daily paper. It was built in 2003 on the site of the former police station and also incorporates a Tully's Coffee, Jamba Juice and Quizno's Sub. Santa Cruz Plaza is home to many free, public events usually sponsored by NBC including the recent Concerts on the Plaza series which saw a number of open-air live music events.


1.6 Delaware Neighbourhood

Delaware is the hipster capital of Oakwood and there is no better place to find hipsters than Sam's Records. A vast emporium of vinyl, CDs and DVDs which often hosts in-store gigs for music fans. The neighbourhood is linked by metro, bus and Amtrak to the city center. It was the heart of the hippy movement in the city during the 60s but has grown up to follow whichever trend is current and today is populated by second-hand bookshops, record stores and independent coffee stores.


1.7 Foggy Day

Fog. Drifting in up the Clare River and down from the surrounding mountains into the center of the city fog is an all-to-frequent occurance in the city.





After returning from living for a month in San Francisco I've decided to change my usual city style from British and European realism to American realism and as such I've come up with Oakwood. It's a medium sized city which takes the place of Fairfield in NorCal. Right on the capital corridor Amtrak line between San Jose and Sacramento and within easy driving distance of the Bay Area I figured it was the perfect place to locate my CJ.


Oakwood was founded in 1859 by Arnold O'Clare and it quickly grew up as a trading post for people on their way to San Francisco. In 1903 it was incorporated as a city and the first bridge across the Clare River was built. By the 1920s the city was undergoing huge amounts of construction as it became one of the new towns being built on the riches of the banking industry. Wells Fargo built it's ornate office building in the center of the city's downtown in 1922. By 1929 plans for a subway were in the pipeline with the first line being completed by 1944. As the century moved on so did Oakwood as it grew larger and larger. Trollycars rattled down the city's main throughfare of Market Street connecting the downtown area with newly built southern areas. In 1959 a poll was held across the city on what to name the streets running E-W, it was decided that the names of states was most appropriate and so from Alabama to Idaho the city's streets were named. North of the river development came slightly later but by the 60s it was a well established area and so it was decided to name the streets after Pulitzer prize winners instead of the A St and B St that had gone before.

Oakwood Today

As it stands Oakwood has become an integral part of the Northern Californian 'belt' of major cities. It's downtown boasts the headquaters of a number of major financial and retail businesses. The city boasts a large subway system funded, in part, by private investment. As far as transport is concerned the city is well ahead of most other urban area's it's size with 8 subway lines, a reliable network of buses and 4 Amtrak stations on the Capital Corridor line. As well as this Interstate 80 cuts right through the city tunneling underground at 8th St providing fast links with the Bay Area.




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