College of Architecture and Environmental Design
City and Regional Planning Department
BS in City and Regional Planning
Vicente del Rio
The driving factor behind this project is my interest in how public art can drastically improve areas with somewhat little tangible change. With the implementation of a few key pieces, an area can gain recognition, triangulation, and life. Recognition begins when the location becomes recognizable and memorable, as opposed to being yet another mundane street corner or node. Making a location memorable and recognizable sparks the interest and desire for people to come visit the area. Having these pieces can generate interest and triangulation, which is when people come together to experience or converse about whatever it is drawing them together (Project for Public Spaces). It is my goal to demonstrate how municipalities or other agencies can invigorate various locations with simple installations and implementation measures. The main purpose of this project is to use public art as a tool for community expression and revitalization while avoiding gentrification.
I chose to focus on the City of Oakland because of my experiences growing up throughout the Bay Area. Oakland possesses a unique interest in individuality, creative expression, and the recognition of its own history. It possesses a large variety of people, each with their own individual culture, who culminate to form one city-wide Oakland culture. The importance placed on cultural roots and history encourages people to embrace individuality through outward expression.
Every location possesses a unique sense of character and history, whether it has been made prominently known or not. The pieces chosen to be installed at the location can and should express the culture and climate which the area possesses. This can include pieces which reflect on history, such as sculptures of influential people, or can express its current community, such as a mural of children painted in an area characterized by its school. Whatever pieces are chosen should contain some connection to its location or provide some form of value, including aesthetic appeal. A piece may not receive a large amount of approval if it feels out of place or makes the residents feel unacknowledged. Embracing an area’s unique culture can encourage the feeling of pride and community from those who hold residency or other attachments.
The work within this project is intended to demonstrate the possible visuals and impacts which may come with the implementation of more public art. This project can be considered my proposal for what I feel would be beneficial installations within specific Oakland neighborhoods. The physical implementation of these types of projects would require community engagement to ensure successful results and that the public’s views and desires are heard. These demonstrations can be used as a proposal to start a dialogue with the community about what it is they value in public art.